Prime Minister David Cameron will meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Monday, marking the official start of the election campaign. In a ritual steeped in tradition, Mr Cameron will ask the Queen for permission to dissolve Parliament ahead of the General Election on 7 May.
Once permission has been granted, the Queen will sign and seal paperwork that leads to the dissolution. Her Majesty will meet with her Privy Council for the signing of the documents, which Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is president of.
At this point all MPs will lose their titles, and those seeking to keep their seats following the election become candidates.
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David Cameron will ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament on Monday
Royal commentator Alastair Bruce told Sky News that the protocol is in place to remind us that the monarch's authority protects us from any form of dictatorship.
"She is the one who can give permission to dissolve Parliament – only her – and the Prime Minister is asking her to exercise that authority.
"The Prime Minister is aware that in order for the constitution to be a reassurance for the British public we have to see this process of the Prime Minister going to the Monarch and asking for the dissolution."
It is the 12th time that the Queen has dissolved Parliament
The dissolution marks the end of the five-year coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and officially begins the 2015 election campaign, which is tipped to be the closest national election in decades.
It is the 12th time that the Queen has dissolved Parliament during her reign. Her Majesty is said to have a great interest in politics and holds an audience with David Cameron once a week, as well as receiving daily updates from Parliament.
It is expected that whoever becomes Prime Minister in May will ask the Queen to summon the new Parliament to meet on 18 May. The Queen will then present the policies of her new government at the State Opening of Parliament on 27 May.