Royal Assent

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The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law. In the vast majority of contemporary monarchies, this act is considered to be little more than a formality; even in those nations which still permit their ruler to withhold the royal assent (such as the United Kingdom, Norway and Liechtenstein), the monarch almost never does so save in a dire political emergency (see reserve power), or upon the advice of his or her government. While the power to withhold royal assent was once exercised often in European monarchies, it is exceedingly rare in the modern, democratic political atmosphere that has developed there since the eighteenth century.

The granting of royal assent is sometimes associated with elaborate ceremonies. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the Sovereign may appoint Lords Commissioners, who announce that the Royal Assent has been granted at a ceremony held at the Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, or another royal residence. However the Royal Assent is usually granted less ceremonially by letters patent. In other nations, including Australia and Canada, the Governor-General merely signs the bill. In each case, the parliament must be apprised of the granting of Assent. Two methods are available: the Lords Commissioners or the Sovereign's representatives may grant Assent in the presence of both Houses of Parliament; alternatively, each House may be notified separately, usually by the Speaker of that House.


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