Meeting the Royals
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The Queen is Head of State of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms. The elder daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, she was born in 1926 and became Queen at the age of 25,
The Queen is Head of State in the United Kingdom. As a constitutional monarch, Her Majesty does not 'rule' the country, but fulfils important ceremonial and formal roles with respect to Government. She is also Fount of Justice, Head of the Armed Forces and has important relationships with the established Churches of England and Scotland.
Although the British Sovereign no longer has a political or executive role, she continues to play an important part in the life of the nation.
As Head of State The Queen has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters, unable to vote or stand for election. But The Queen does have important ceremonial and formal roles in relation to the Government of the UK. The formal phrase 'Queen in Parliament' is used to describe the British legislature, which consists of the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The Queen's duties include opening each new session of Parliament, dissolving Parliament before a general election, and approving Orders and Proclamations through the Privy Council. The Queen also has a special relationship with the Prime Minister, retaining the right to appoint and also meeting with him or her on a regular basis. In addition to playing a specific role in the UK Parliament based in London, The Queen has formal roles with relation to the devolved assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In the earliest times the Sovereign was a key figure in the enforcement of law and the establishment of legal systems in different areas of the UK. As such the Sovereign became known as the 'Fount of Justice'. While no longer administering justice in a practical way, the Sovereign today still retains an important symbolic role as the figure in whose name justice is carried out, and law and order is maintained. Although civil and criminal proceedings cannot be taken against the Sovereign as a person under UK law, The Queen is careful to ensure that all her activities in her personal capacity are carried out in strict accordance with the law.
The Queen as Sovereign is Head of the Armed Forces. She is also the wife, mother and grandmother of individuals either having served, or are currently serving, in the Armed Forces. The Queen is the only person to declare war and peace. This dates back from when the Monarch was responsible for raising, maintaining and equipping the Army and Navy.
Flags, stamps and coins all represent the Crown in different ways, while symbols such as the Crown Jewels exert a powerful fascination. With the passage of years, the history and meaning of many of these symbols has become obscured.
The Royal Standard is only flown when the Sovereign is present. If the Union Jack is flying above Buckingham Palace instead of the Standard, The Queen is not in residence.
The Imperial State Crown, which is traditionally worn by the Sovereign The Imperial State Crown
An animal lover since childhood, The Queen takes a keen and highly knowledgeable interest in horses. She attends the Derby at Epsom, one of the classic flat races in Britain, and the Summer Race Meeting at Ascot, which has been a Royal occasion since 1911.
The Queen has many different duties to perform every day. Some are public duties, such as ceremonies, receptions and visits within the United Kingdom or abroad. Other duties are carried out away from the cameras, but they are no less important. These include reading letters from the public, official papers and briefing notes; audiences with political ministers or ambassadors; and meetings with her Private Secretaries to discuss daily business and her future diary pla
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary on 20 November 2011.
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 over which 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). 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 name.
There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms. For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way. On presentation to The Queen, the correct formal address is 'Your Majesty' and subsequently 'Ma'am'. For male members of the Royal Family the same rules apply, with the title used in the first instance being 'Your Royal Highness' and subsequently 'Sir'. For other female members of the Royal Family the first address is conventionally 'Your Royal Highness' followed by 'Ma'am' in later conversation.
Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch.
Windsor Castle is an official residence of The Queen and the largest occupied castle in the world. A Royal home and fortress for over 900 years, the Castle remains a working palace today.
Founded as a monastery in 1128, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh is The Queen's official residence in Scotland. Situated at the end of the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is closely associated with Scotland's turbulent past, including Mary, Queen of Scots, who lived here between 1561 and 1567. Successive kings and queens have made the Palace of Holyroodhouse the premier royal residence in Scotland.
Balmoral Castle on the Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland is the private residence of The Queen. Beloved by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Balmoral Castle has remained a favourite residence for The Queen and her family during the summer holiday period in August and September. The Castle is located on the large Balmoral Estate, a working estate which aims to protect the environment while contributing to the local economy.
Sandringham House in Norfolk has been the private home of four generations of Sovereigns since 1862. The Queen and other members of the Royal Family regularly spend Christmas at Sandringham and make it their official base until February each year.
St. James's Palace is the senior Palace of the Sovereign, with a long history as a Royal residence. As the home of several members of the Royal Family and their household offices, it is often in use for official functions and is not open to the public.
Clarence House is the official London residence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, and Princes William and Harry.
Kensington Palace in London is a working Royal residence. Of great historical importance, Kensington Palace was the favourite residence of successive sovereigns until 1760. It was also the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria. Today Kensington Palace accommodates the offices and private apartments of a number of members of the Royal Family.