Definition of British Royal Family

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  • 8/3/2019 Definition of British Royal Family





    Definition of British Royal Family

    The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United

    Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations

    of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms,

    thus sometimes at variance with official national terms for the family.[1]

    Members of the

    Royal Family belong to, either by birth or marriage, the House of Windsor, since 1917,

    when George V changed the name of the royal house from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This

    decision was primarily taken because Britain and her Empire were at war with Germany

    and given the British Royal Family's strong German ancestry, it was felt that its public

    image could be improved by choosing a more British house name. The new name chosen,

    Windsor, had absolutely no connection other than as the name of the castle which was

    and continues to be a royal residence.

    Although in the United Kingdom there is no strict legal or formal definition of who is

    or is not a member of the Royal Family, and different lists will include different people,those carrying the style Her or His Majesty (HM), or Her or His Royal Highness (HRH)

    are always considered members, which usually results in the application of the term to the

    monarch, the consort of the monarch, the widowed consorts of previous monarchs, the

    children of the monarch and previous monarchs, the male-line grandchildren of the

    monarch and previous monarchs, and the spouses and the widows of a monarch's and

    previous monarch's sons and male-line grandsons.

    Members and relatives of the British Royal Family historically represented the

    monarch in various places throughout the British Empire, sometimes for extended periods

    as viceroys, or for specific ceremonies or events. Today, they often perform ceremonial

    and social duties throughout the United Kingdom and abroad on behalf of the UK, but,

    aside from the monarch, have no constitutional role in the affairs of government. This is

    the same for the other realms of the Commonwealth though the family there acts on

    behalf of, is funded by, and represents the sovereign of that particular state, and not the

    United Kingdom.
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    B. History of British Royal Family

    Queen Elizabeth II became Queen of the United

    Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth on

    February 6, 1952. As of today she has reigned for 59

    years, 9 months and 9 days59 years, 9 months and 9

    days, and she will celebrate the Diamond (60th)

    Jubilee of her reign in 2012, including an official

    Jubilee Weekend on 2nd-5th June. She is head of the

    British Royal Family, has 4 children, 8 grandchildrenand 1 great-grandchild, and is 85 years, 6 months and

    25 days85 years, 6 months and 25 days old. Her first great-grandchild was born on 29

    December 2010.

    She is the 32nd great-granddaughter ofKing Alfred the Great who was the first effective

    King of England 871-899. On 21st December 2007 she became the oldest reigning British

    monarch having outlived her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria who died 22nd January

    1901 aged 81 years, 7 months and 29 days.

    On 12th May 2011 Queen Elizabeth II became the 2nd longest reigning monarch in over

    1,200 years of British History. She will have to reign until 10th Sept 2015 when she will be

    89 years old to reign longer than her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria who reigned for

    63 years and 216 days from 1837-1901. See British Kings & Queens by Length of Reign.

    Her eldest son Prince Charles who was 62 years old on 14th November 2010 is currently

    the longest waiting and 2nd oldest ever heir apparent, and would by that time be the oldest

    heir apparent at 66 years old. See British Kings & Queens by Age of Ascent.

    The Queen's husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is 90 years, 5 months and 6

    days90 years, 5 months and 6 days old, and celebrated his 90th birthday on 10th June 2011.

    He is the longest ever serving Royal Consort and oldest serving spouse of a reigning British

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    On 29th April 2011 the Queen's grandson Prince William, who is 2nd in line to the

    throne, married Catherine (Kate) Middleton in Westminster Abbey. They are now the Duke

    and Duchess of Cambridge.

    Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and

    Head of the Commonwealth of Nations. Great Britain was formed 304 years ago by the Act

    of Union between England and Scotland on 1st April 1707. More about Great Britain

    As well as the United Kingdom, she is Queen of Canada, Australia, New Zealand,

    Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu,

    Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Saint Kitts

    and Nevis, where she is represented by Governors-General. The sixteen countries of whichshe is Queen are known as Commonwealth Realms, and their combined population is 134


    She is Head of the Commonwealth of Nations comprising 54 member states in North

    America, South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. The aims of the Commonwealth include

    the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual

    liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism, and world peace. The 2.1 billion people in

    the member states account for almost a third of the current world population.

    Her reign of over more than half a century has seen 12 Prime Ministers of the United

    Kingdom, and numerous Prime Ministers in the Commonwealth Realms of which she is (or

    was) also Head of State; between them she has had a total of 140 Prime Ministers during her

    reign. There have been 12 US Presidents during her reign.
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    The Royal Family Name

    People often ask whether members of the Royal Family have a surname, and,

    if so, what it is.

    Members of the Royal Family can be known both by the name of the Royal

    house, and by a surname, which are not always the same. And often they do not use a

    surname at all.

    Before 1917, members of the British Royal Family had no surname, but only

    the name of the house or dynasty to which they belonged.

    Kings and princes were historically known by the names of the countries overwhich they and their families ruled. Kings and queens therefore signed themselves by

    their first names only, a tradition in the United Kingdom which has continued to the

    present day.

    The names of dynasties tended to change when the line of succession was

    taken by a rival faction within the family (for example, Henry IV and the

    Lancastrians, Edward IV and the Yorkists, Henry VII and the Tudors), or when

    succession passed to a different family branch through females (for example, Henry II

    and the Angevins, James I and the Stuarts, George I and the Hanoverians).

    Just as children can take their surnames from their father, so sovereigns

    normally take the name of their 'House' from their father. For this reason, Queen

    Victoria's eldest son Edward VII belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (the

    family name of his father Prince Albert). Edward VII's son George V became the

    second king of that dynasty when he succeeded to the throne in 1910.

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    In 1917, there was a radical change, when George V specifically adopted

    Windsor, not only as the name of the 'House' or dynasty, but also as the surname of

    his family. The family name was changed as a result of anti-German feeling during

    the First World War, and the name Windsor was adopted after the Castle of the same


    At a meeting of the Privy Council on 17 July 1917, George V declared that 'all

    descendants in the male line of Queen Victoria, who are subjects of these realms,

    other than female descendants who marry or who have married, shall bear the name of


    The Royal Family name of Windsor was confirmed by The Queen after her

    accession in 1952. However, in 1960, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh decided

    that they would like their own direct descendants to be distinguished from the rest of

    the Royal Family (without changing the name of the Royal House), as Windsor is the

    surname used by all the male and unmarried female descendants of George V.

    It was therefore declared in the Privy Council that The Queen's descendants,

    other than those with the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince/Princess, or

    female descendants who marry, would carry the name of Mountbatten-Windsor.

    This reflected Prince Philip's surname. In 1947, when Prince Philip of Greece

    became naturalised, he assumed the name of Philip Mountbatten as a Lieutenant in the

    Royal Navy.

    The effect of the declaration was that all The Queen's children, on occasions

    when they needed a surname, would have the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.

    For the most part, members of the Royal Family who are entitled to the style

    and dignity of HRH Prince or Princess do not need a surname, but if at any time any

    of them do need a surname (such as upon marriage), that surname is Mountbatten-


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    The surname Mountbatten-Windsor first appeared on an official document on

    14 November 1973, in the marriage register at Westminster Abbey for the marriage of

    Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips.

    A proclamation on the Royal Family name by the reigning monarch is not

    statutory; unlike an Act of Parliament, it does not pass into the law of the land. Such a

    proclamation is not binding on succeeding reigning sovereigns, nor does it set a

    precedent which must be followed by reigning sovereigns who come after.

    Unless The Prince of Wales chooses to alter the present decisions when he

    becomes king, he will continue to be of the House of Windsor and his grandchildren

    will use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.

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    Family tree of members
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    C. In the United Kingdom Public role and image

    Members of the Royal Family participate in hundreds of public engagements

    yearly throughout the whole of the United Kingdom, as formally recorded in the

    Court Circular, to honour, encourage and learn about the achievements or endeavours

    of individuals, institutions and enterprises in a variety of areas of life. As

    representatives of HM The Queen, they often also join the nation in commemorating

    historical events, holidays, celebratory and tragic occurrences, and may also sponsor

    or participate in numerous charitable, cultural and social activities. Their travels

    abroad on behalf of the UK (called State Visits when the sovereign officially meets

    with other heads of state) draw celebrity-like attention to amicable relations within

    and between the Commonwealth and other nations, to British goods and trade, and to

    Britain as a historical, vacation, and tourist destination. Their presence, activities and

    traditional roles constitute the apex of a modern "royal court," and provide a distinctly

    British and historical pageantry to ceremonies (e.g. Trooping the Colour) and flavour

    to public events (e.g. Garden Parties, Ascot). Throughout their lives they draw

    enormous media coverage in the form of photographic, written and televised

    commentary on their activities, family relationships, rites of passage, personalities,

    attire, behaviour, and public roles. Senior members of the Royal Family often drive

    themselves instead of having a driver.[4]

    In a lengthy interview conducted by PBS prior to the death ofDiana...