Queen Elizabeth II granted royal assent to the Brexit deal on Thursday, December 31, the last date for filing the legislation.

According to a report in Royal Central, the British monarch waited past midnight on Wednesday to sign The Brexit legislation. The bill was finally agreed on Christmas Eve after several years of negotiating with the European Union and was rushed through Parliament on Wednesday, just a day prior to the last date.

Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords passed the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill on the same day, and it was only then that it arrived at Windsor Castle to be approved by the Queen. The monarch signed the papers shortly after midnight.

Royal Assent is compulsory to make legislation in the United Kingdom, as the queen holds the power to make and repeal laws. Laws usually originate from the Houses of Parliament, either the Commons or the Lords, from where starts a lengthy process of debate and review. Once both houses of Parliament pass it, it is then sent to the Queen in her daily red boxes of state papers. No bill can become law without her approval.

If the monarch hadn't signed the Brexit deal on Thursday, the country would have left the European Union without a deal. A transition period between the United Kingdom and the EU is due to end at 11 pm on December 31st.

Under the legislation, the UK and EU can do trade without tariffs and quotas. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said about the move: "The destiny of this great country now resides firmly in our hands. We take on this duty with a sense of purpose and with the interests of the British public at the heart of everything we do."

"11pm on the 31st December marks a new beginning in our country's history and a new relationship with the EU as their biggest ally. This moment is finally upon us and now is the time to seize it," he added.

The Conservative leader also highlighted how what had been agreed was dismissed by some as "impossible." He said: "We were told we could not have our cake and eat it – namely that we could trade and co-operate with our EU neighbours on the closest possible terms as we will, while retaining sovereign control of our laws and our national destiny."

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II Photo: POOL / Ben STANSALL