Theresa May called the June 8 vote last month, saying she wanted an increased mandate to take Britain into negotiations on leaving the European Union.
Lawmakers have already hit the campaign trail after parliamentary business finished on Thursday, but from now on are no longer MPs but candidates.
The audience between Theresa May and the head of state at Buckingham Palace was purely symbolic.
Traditionally, a prime minister was required to ask the monarch to dissolve parliament, but the 2011 Fixed-Term Parliaments Act made the process automatic.
After the election, the queen will summon the figure best-placed to command the confidence of the Commons -- likely the leader of the largest party -- and invite them to form a government as prime minister.
The new parliament will meet on June 13, when MPs will elect a new speaker.
The formal state opening of parliament by the queen, a ceremony full of pomp, will take place on June 19.
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