The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, which means we are a democracy but still have a king or queen. The current Royal family is the House of Windsor, who enjoy diplomatic responsibility despite holding no actual power. But before the English Civil-War, the Monarchy held absolute power in Britain. Today, all is peaceful and over 60 percent of British people are in favor of the British monarchy. The British monarch is also the head of state for 16 other countries that were once part of the British Empire. From the current Queen, to the bizarre legal issues involving the royals, and their incredible past – here are 10 amazing facts about the British monarchy.


10

The Queen Has Power But Can’t Use It

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Theoretically the serving monarch does have some power. But they are unable to use it as the power is looked after, and used, by the current Prime Minister. These powers include granting Royal Pardons, honors, and even declaring war. So it’s probably a good thing that the Prime minister looks after that last one. These powers are collectively known as the Royal prerogative. So realistically the Queen has no actual power. She signs legislative bills into law, but she doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter. She annually gives speeches, but those speeches are written for her by the government.


9

No One Knows How Wealthy They Are

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We can’t be sure how wealthy the Royal family is as a whole, or even how wealthy the Queen is personally. But one thing is clear: they’re incredibly wealthy. Estimates of the Queens personal wealth vary massively. Forbes thinks it’s over 400 million dollars, but many others think it’s below 100 million dollars. Much of their physical wealth is tied to land, so it’s hard to value it. The former director of the Queens own bank (she doesn’t own the bank) estimated her wealth at around 50 million dollars. So it’s anyone’s guess how rich she is. But seeing as she’s an actual queen, we can assume she won’t be struggling financially any time soon.


8

They’re Pretty Inbred

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Royal family members tend to only marry other Royal family members. Usually, they marry into other European royal families. But that’s been going on for so long that most European royals are closely related. And they have been closely related for quite some time, making most of the current European monarchs the product of incest. I mean, the current British monarch married and had children with her third cousin. Their great-great grandparents were literally the same people. It was Queen Victoria and her husband Albert. And that makes sense – Queen Victoria sent her children all over Europe to marry into new Kingdoms.


7

The Queen Can Only Enter Half Of Parliament

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For constitutional reasons, the Queen isn’t allowed to enter the house of commons, which is the supreme chamber in the British Parliament. This is to make clear the separation of Monarchy and government. It actually goes back to the English civil war. The war started when the King entered the house of commons and attempted to arrest some of it’s members. This is what kicked off the war. The King obviously lost the war, and British Monarchs were from then on banned from ever entering the house of commons. It’s hard to know what would happen is she attempted to enter the house today. Maybe the British monarchy would be overthrown. No one really knows.


6

Minor Royals


Minor royals are members of the Royal family who don’t really do anything regarding politics. People like the Queens grandchildren who aren’t the children of the heir to the throne. So Prince Charles’ children are not minor royals, but their cousins are. The British public are unsure what to do with the minor royals. Do we respect them, throw money at them, or ignore them? We currently do all three of these things. But recent polls show that a majority of British people are against giving money to these minor royals. Because right now they do regularly receive money. How much longer they can receive this money is unclear. British Dukes also received money until recently.


5

Official Visits

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As mentioned earlier, members of the Royal family are constantly being sent around the world on official visits to other countries. They just visit people and talk about nothing much, and that’s considered diplomatic. And it should be considered diplomatic, the Queen is the head of state for Great Britain and the whole commonwealth. The Queen alone has been to over 130 different countries, and I’m sure that number increases quite a lot when you include other members of the royal family. That’s basically the main purpose of the royal family these days – we just fly them around the world to meet people they really don’t care about.


4

Some Former Colonies Have Rejected It

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The goal for the British monarchy was always that the former colonies of the British Empire would continue to hold the Queen as their own head of state long after gaining independence. But quite a few of those former colonies simply dropped their connection to the British monarchy. Places like India, Pakistan, and South-Africa no longer have Queen Elizabeth as their head of state but remain part of the commonwealth. Some prominent politicians in other commonwealth countries like Australia and Jamaica have recently expressed interest in no longer having the British monarch as their head of state. But they usually say it should be changed after the current Queen dies, and before Charles is crowned King.


3

It Almost Collapsed In The 1990s

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Although today the British monarchy is more popular than ever, there was a time when their position in society was far less than stable. And it wasn’t that long ago. The British public were angry at how the Royal family acted after the death of princess Diana in 1997. Her death triggered a bizarre mass-hysteria within the UK. But the Queen didn’t show much sorrow for her death. This is because the royals have been taught to show as little emotion as possible. As a result of this, republicanism was on the rise in Britain, and for a while it really looked like most people wanted to overthrow the British monarchy. But the controversy faded away.


2

The Queen Hates Tony Blair

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Once again showing solidarity with the British public, the Queen also doesn’t like Tony Blair. Blair was the British Prime minister from 1997 to 2007. During his time in power, he changed House of Lords so that now most Lords don’t inherit their title through male bloodlines. They are appointed. I assume this is one of the reasons she doesn’t like him – Queens are known for being traditional. Tony Blair’s wife always refused to curtsy to Royals, which I’m sure caused them offense. It’s well known that she doesn’t like Tony Blair, but perhaps the real reason for this is unknown. Maybe it was the Iraq war. It could be anything.


1

They Changed Their Name

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The House name of the Royal family is currently Windsor. But until 1917, it was the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But this was such a German-sounding name that the Royal family were forced to change their name to Windsor during the first world war. They took their new name from Windsor castle, which has long been one of their residences.

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