In September, I was very pleased to have my article featured about the British Royal Family in the magazine for FOCUS, a community run by expats who support expats moving to the UK. I wrote about how succession works and who can be called a Queen, King or Princess. You can read the full article here, which was published in the autumn edition of the FOCUS magazine.
The British Royal Family: facts, stories and myths
Queen Elizabeth II is our longest reigning monarch and at 91 years old, also the world’s oldest living monarch. Despite the long reign, she was not actually born to be Queen. In fact, she was already 10 years old when her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated after a short reign because of his love for Wallis Simpson, resulting in her father becoming King George VI.
Our Queen has seen some of the most significant events of the last 100 years and her statistics are impressive!
- 65 years’ reign
- 13 Prime Ministers
- 13 US Presidents
- 7 Popes
- More than 30 Corgi dogs
- Previous longest-reigning British monarch: Queen Victoria
- British monarch with the shortest reign: Lady Jane Grey (9 days)
Why does the Queen have 2 birthdays
As a British monarch, Queen Elizabeth is also lucky enough to enjoy 2 birthdays. Her actual birthday is 21st April however, it has been traditional for over 200 years to celebrate the monarch’s official birthday in June with the ceremony ‘Trooping the Colour’. On this day you will see almost 1500 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians marching along The Mall, a Royal Air Force fly-past and a 41-gun salute in Green Park.
Will Prince Charles ever be King?
Prince Charles is now the longest-waiting heir to the British throne at 68 years old. As the heir and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth, he is known as the Prince of Wales and also the Duke of Cornwall, but will not necessarily be called King Charles III when he ascends the throne. In fact, monarchs sometimes take a different name and apparently Prince Charles might choose to become King George VII, as Kings named Charles were not always popular! In fact King Charles I was executed by the people in 1649, which led to 11 years of Britain as a republic, and Charles II was not always well-behaved!
Who can be called a King, Queen or Princess in the UK?
Camilla, Prince Charles’s wife, has the title the Duchess of Cornwall and as the wife of the Prince of Wales, could also be called Princess of Wales. She decided not to take this title as it was clearly connected to Diana. Diana is often mistakenly called ‘Princess Diana’, when in fact her actual title was Diana, Princess of Wales. It is likely Camilla will become Queen, when Charles becomes King.
But then why is the Queen’s husband not a King? Well, the husband of a Queen is known as the Prince Consort and does not become King. For example, Prince Philip, who is also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, and Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert.
There are many official titles in the royal family, and it is traditional that Dukedoms are the highest-ranking honour. The 2nd son of the monarch is usually given the title Duke of York, in the current case this is Prince Andrew. The Queen’s 3rd son is currently known as the Earl of Wessex (his wife, Sophie, as the Countess), which is a reinvented historic title, given to him by the Queen.
Prince William has the title Duke of Cambridge, and like Diana and Camilla before her, Catherine is officially known as the Duchess of Cambridge, and is not called a Princess.
One enduring question often asked about the Queen is what does she actually carry in her handbag? Rumour has it a comb, a handkerchief, a small gold compact and a lipstick.
In September I also led a seminar for the Focus community at their head office on the topic of Decoding British English, about what British people usually say, what they mean, how to respond. This seminar was incredibly well received and popular, as you can see from the feedback here! In this light-hearted session, I spoke about the way of saying things in British English for common, everyday situations, including meeting people, small talk, the word ‘sorry’ and how to disagree.
Victoria Rennoldson, Founder of Perfect Cuppa English
Take a look at Perfect Cuppa English services:
Book your free consultation for your personalised recommendations
You might also like reading: