So the Royal Prerogative almost certainly isn’t one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about politics in the UK – however it is in fact one of the most significant elements of our constitution.
Now the idea of the Royal Prerogative is a pretty historic one to be honest. The concept of prerogative powers stems from the medieval King acting as head of the kingdom, but it is by no means a medieval device.
The prerogative enables Ministers, among many other things, to deploy the armed forces, make and unmake international treaties and to grant honours. In modern times, Government Ministers exercise the majority of the prerogative powers either in their own right or through the advice they provide to the Queen which she is bound constitutionally to follow.
For instance, the Prime Minister is responsible for all ministerial appointments, although the authority to do this stems from the Royal Prerogative. This is an example of the idea of patronage, which is one way in which the PM can exercise power.
Similarly, while the power to appoint Law Lords resides with the Queen, it is exercised by the Prime Minister as part of the Royal Prerogative. The most recent appointment (as of January 2016) was that of Lord Hodge in October 2013.