The royal prerogative comprised all the powers and privileges that English law reserved for the Crown to enable it to effectively govern the realm. Although its full extent was vaguely defined and depended in part on the personality of the monarch, the prerogative included such rights and duties as summoning and dismissing PARLIAMENT, issuing proclamations, appointing and dismissing ministers and judges, conducting foreign policy, and ensuring the maintenance of public order and the administration of impartial justice. The WARS OF THE ROSES, because they both arose from and contributed to a breakdown of law, order, and good government, led to a general increase in the prerogative and personal power of the monarch.
   Even before the onset of his mental illness in 1453, HENRY VI had shown himself incapable of exercising royal authority in a vigorous and evenhanded manner (see Henry VI, Illness of). During his personal rule, the Crown ceased to be an arbiter of noble feuds, a guarantor of justice and order, or a promoter of prosperity. To regain the political and economic benefits of peace and the rule of law, most citizens of late fifteenth-century England were willing to countenance the strengthening of the royal prerogative, even if such an increase in royal power meant more arbitrary government. The destruction of the house of LANCASTER in 1471 allowed EDWARD IV to rule thereafter with greater authority and firmness. Although he occasionally bent or overrode law or custom to secure his throne or benefit the house of YORK, and although redress at law was difficult to obtain against any of the great nobles upon whom he relied for military support (see Peerage), Edward IV won much popularity by reducing the level of violence and improving the quality of justice throughout the kingdom.
   Edward won further praise, especially in LONDON, for avoiding foreign wars and for encouraging English trade (see English Economy and the Wars of the Roses). Because Parliament was associated with the granting of taxation rather than with oversight of the Crown, the infrequency of sessions after 1471 only enhanced Edward’s standing with the people, who became more willing to accept an expanded prerogative in return for domestic peace and low taxes. Although HENRY VII never enjoyed the personal popularity of Edward IV, he achieved the same level of popular acceptance for his increasingly repressive rule by following many of Edward’s policies. The house of TUDOR benefited from the deep respect for authority engrained in the English people by their memory of the disorder and dissension caused by the Wars of the Roses.
   Further Reading: Carpenter, Christine, The Wars of the Roses (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Ross, Charles, The Wars of the Roses (London: Thames and Hudson, 1987).

Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. . 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • prérogative — [ prerɔgativ ] n. f. • v. 1235; lat. jurid. prærogativa « (centurie) qui vote la première » ♦ Avantage dû à une fonction, un état. ⇒ honneur, 2. pouvoir, privilège. Les prérogatives des parlementaires. « L antique prérogative féodale qui… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • prerogative — I noun advantage, authority, authorization, benefit, charter, claim, droit, due, exclusive privilege, exclusive right, franchise, freedom, grant, inalienable right, legal power, liberty, license, perquisite, power, preference, prior right,… …   Law dictionary

  • Prerogative — Pre*rog a*tive, n. [F. pr[ e]rogative, from L. praerogativa precedence in voting, preference, privilege, fr. praerogativus that is asked before others for his opinion, that votes before or first, fr. praerogare to ask before another; prae before… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prerogative — (n.) special right or privilege granted to someone, c.1400 (in Anglo Latin from late 13c.), from O.Fr. prerogative (14c.), M.L. prerogativa special right, from L. praerogativa prerogative, previous choice or election, originally (with tribus,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • prerogative — Prerogative, et avantage, Praerogatiua. Pour l avoir avec toute puissance et prerogative telle que donner on pouvoit en tel cas, Demus imperium Caesari, eo iure quo qui optimo. Bud …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • prerogative — [prē räg′ə tiv, priräg′ə tiv] n. [ME prerogatif < MFr < L praerogativa, called upon to vote first < praerogare, to ask before < prae , before + rogare, to ask: see ROGATION] 1. a prior or exclusive right or privilege, esp. one… …   English World dictionary

  • prerogative — *right, privilege, perquisite, appanage, birthright Analogous words: immunity, *exemption: *claim, title: *freedom, license, liberty …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • prerogative — [n] right, privilege advantage, appanage, authority, birthright, choice, claim, droit, due, exemption, immunity, liberty, perquisite, sanction, title; concept 376 Ant. duty, obligation …   New thesaurus

  • prerogative — PREROGATIVE. s. f. Privilege, avantage sur un autre. Cette charge donne de belles prerogatives. cette Eglise a de grandes prerogatives, joüit de beaucoup de prerogatives …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • prerogative — ► NOUN 1) a right or privilege exclusive to a particular individual or class. 2) (in UK law) the right of the sovereign, theoretically unrestricted but usually delegated to government or the judiciary. ORIGIN Latin praerogativa the verdict of the …   English terms dictionary

  • prérogative — (pré ro ga ti v ) adj. 1°   À Rome, la centurie prérogative, ou, substantivement, la prérogative, la centurie à laquelle on demandait d abord son suffrage dans les comices. 2°   S. f. La primauté attribuée à cette centurie. 3°   Fig. Tout pouvoir …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

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