The monarchy gives politicians enormous power

It's often claimed that the monarchy somehow keeps power away from politicians, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Our monarchical system means politicians, and particularly the Prime Minister, have much more power than they would in a republic.

Why? Because Britain hasn't fully made the transition from absolute monarchy to a democracy yet, so we're left with a kind of halfway house.

The Prime Minister can unilaterally use many of the powers once held by the monarch, including the power to deploy troops abroad and sign international treaties – all without parliamentary scrutiny.

Meanwhile, because sovereignty rests with the Crown (for which, read the PM and Government of the day), Parliament can make or scrap any law it likes - just as kings and queens could in the past. This means our cherished rights and freedoms are always subject to the whims of politicians.

In a republic, power would rest collectively with the people, whose fundamental rights would be set out in a new constitution – a set of rules by which a country is governed. This document would also clearly define and place limits on politicians' powers.

As a further check on the power of governments, an elected and accountable head of state would act as impartial referee of the system.

Find out more about the role of head of state