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King Charles standing next to a ballot box.
Can King Charles vote in the General Election? (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Following months of campaigning from the likes of the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems, the day is finally here as polling stations open for the General Election.

Up to 48 million people are eligible to go to the polls and elect a new government for the first time since 2019, when Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won a landslide 80-seat majority.

No matter who wins the election, they will have to go to Buckingham Palace and ask the King for permission to form the next government, which has led many to wonder whether or not he and the Royal Family can have their say and vote with the rest of us.

Follow the latest 2024 General Election news on Metro’s live blog

Here is all you need to know.

Can King Charles and the Royal Family vote in the General Election?

Technically, the King and members of the Royal Family can vote as there’s no law against it.

However, they voluntarily choose not to in order to remain politically neutral.

Kate, Princess of Wales, centre, waves from the balcony of Buckingham Palace with Prince William, right, Princess Charlotte, down left, and Prince Louis, down centre, during the coronation of Britain's King Charles III, in London, Saturday, May 6, 2023.
The Royal Family can vote in elections- but choose not to (Picture: AP)

In purely legal terms, the King is entitled to vote if he wanted to as it would be against Article 39 of the European Union’s Charter Of Fundamental Rights to stop him – but Parliament guidelines state it is considered unconstitutional for the Monarch or their family to vote in an election.

The official Royal website states that the Head of State ‘has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters’ and is unable to stand for election or vote.

Traditionally, the King also does not show any political leaning.

Speaking in 2021 about Queen Elizabeth II, historian Sarah Gristwood told the BBC it has ‘been a policy of this Queen, since her early days as head of state, to stay completely above the fray.’

And although Charles has typically been more involved in politics than his mother, he is expected to follow suit.

Members of the House of Lords can vote in local and European elections, however they are exempt from voting in General Elections.

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After a General Election, the King tasks the leader of the political party which secured the most seats in Parliament with forming the new government.

The King will subsequently work closely with said new Prime Minister – whether that be Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer – on state matters for the length of their time in office.

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