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buckyboy28's avatar

Can someone explain the British Royal family to me?

Asked by buckyboy28 (4925 points ) November 17th, 2010

With all this talk of the British Royal family the past few days, I realized that I have no clue what is going on.

Tell me if I’m right. So Queen Elizabeth II is queen because her father was king, but her husband isn’t king because he’s not from the royal bloodline. Prince Charles will become king when QE2 kicks the bucket because he is from the royal bloodline.

Another thing I don’t get is why Princess Di was a princess, but Camilla is a duchess. What the hell is a duchess anyway?

Will Kate be a princess? Why does my head hurt?

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35 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

As I understand it:

(1) Your second paragraph is spot on.

(2) Camilla holds the title of Princess of Wales, but she uses the title Duchess of Cornwall out of respect for the dearly-held memory of Princess Diana.

(3) Duchess is the female royal rank just below the monarch.

(4) There is not binding precedent for what royal title Kate will take when she marries William – however, when William’s uncles married they took the titles of Dukes, and their wives Duchesses. When (and if) Charles ascends to the throne, it is likely that William will take the title of Prince of Wales and Kate will then be Princess as Wales (considering the generation gap and how William reminds the people so much of his mother, the passing of the title in a public sense will most likely be a moment of healing rather than contention).

I think that’s everything…

mammal's avatar

Apparently everyone is thrilled, that Prince William has chosen a suitable specimen with which to breed and continue the ridiculously outmoded institution of hereditary class privilege, based upon divine decree, that stretches back to the dark ages.

jca's avatar

Another interesting detail, from the Diana days: Diana’s title was Diana, Princess of Wales because she was not born to the throne. If she were, her title would have been Princess Diana of Wales. She was Princess Diana but her official title was Diana, Princess of Wales.

It’s also nice to see some good looks going into the bloodline! Elizabeth and Charles don’t have much in the looks department, but Diana and now Kate do!

JLeslie's avatar

@mammal Why so negative? In America a family’s wealth is passed down to the children, the royal family is basically the same. They are not the “ruling class” anymore, they don’t control the country, the people do, the elected government.

iamthemob's avatar

@JLeslie – considering the wealth held by the royal family – both liquid and equity-based – I don’t think that we shouldn’t consider them the “ruling class” anymore – they still are, just the influence is economic rather than wholly political.

However, I think that you’re right that there’s very little difference between the economic ruling class in the U.S. and the current status of the royal family in the U.K.

jca's avatar

I think the difference between British royalty and the rich in the US is that the British have the titles and financial help from the public (in paying for guards, etc) and thousands of people turn out to see them parade down the street or in their royal ceremonies. Except for weddings in the US, I cannot think of any other situations where thousands of the public turn out to see rich people parade or engage in ceremonies here. @mammal was correct about that ” the hereditary class privilege, based upon divine decree.”

Leanne1986's avatar

@jca I don’t know, I think Elizabeth was a fairly attractive young woman and her sister, Margaret, even more so in her youth. It went a bit wrong with poor old Charles and Anne but I always though Prince Andrew was rather hunky!

ucme's avatar

Essentially they’re a cosseted bunch of toffee nosed horse faced snooty types with a german heritage. I’m not a fan.

RareDenver's avatar

@buckyboy28 When the bloodline results in a Queen taking to the throne her spouse is not the King, when the bloodline results in a King taking to the throne his spouse however is a Queen. It’s really quite simple.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@mammal the last time the UK got rid of the king we ended up with a man so evil he banned Christmas (also dancing, the theatre, music etc…). If the price of not living in a boring puritanical hell hole is putting up with an out dated institution then it’s a price I pay gladly.

Adagio's avatar

@Leanne1986 I think Anne looks gorgeous in this wedding photograph… actually I’ve seen quite a number of photographs of her as a young woman looking rather stunning… and by the way I’m not particularly a fan of the Royal family, despite being a Commonwealth citizen : ^) http://www.fashion-era.com/images/SocialHistory/annemarkregiment.jpg

meiosis's avatar

@Lightlyseared You know, if we though about it, I’m sure we could come up with a head of state that was a middle way between autocratic, religious dictator and anachronistic toffs with a superior sense of entitlement.

Leanne1986's avatar

@Adagio Actually, I agree with you. She does look attractive in some of her younger pictures and I think her daughter, Zara is also attractive.

Am I the only person left that is actually a fan of the Royal family?

meiosis's avatar

@Leanne1986 No, I think there are a few millions of you left. :)

Leanne1986's avatar

@meiosis That’s good to hear although, I haven’t met another for a very long time!

jca's avatar

@Leanne1986: every time they have a ceremony the streets are lined with thousands of people, so i think there are many fans of the Royal family left.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@meiosis yes but why take the risk? I mean really what difference does having a royal family or not make? The only people who seem to care are the far left socialists.

meiosis's avatar

@Lightlyseared It’s the principle of monarchy I object to, the stupidity of determining that William’s first born will be monarch, no matter how unfit he or she may be. And the celebrification that comes with it is nauseating. God knows how much blether it will be impossible to avoid we’re going to have to endure before the “big” day.

Still , there’s always the protracted, messy and absurdly public divorce to look forward to.

mammal's avatar

@JLeslie because they are too heavily involved in our political system, we don’t need the Queen to ratify our laws or consent to the legitimacy of our government `her majesty’s government’ i don’t want our currency defaced with images of royalty, i don’t like what they stand for or represent, i.e grotesque wealth distribution, i don’t want to sing a national anthem extolling the virtues of an individual, i don’t want to pledge allegiance to an obscenely wealthy individual. I don’t like the way the Royal family wield almost supernatural power over the press at the merest whiff of scandal and that they are subsidised by the tax payer.. off with their heads, long live the Republic.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@meiosis it’s no more stupid than electing someone. You might think that a democratic election process would lead to the selection of someone competent to lead a country but then you end up George W Bush

JLeslie's avatar

@mammal I see. Well, since I am American I am not in touch with all of these possible reasons to not like the royal family. I don’t like In God We Trust on our money, or that every bill is the same size, or that Washington National Airport was renamed Ronald Reagan airport (that one I really find to be disgrace) and I did not realize you pledge of allegiance to the queen, but I guess that is symbolic of the country, I do find that odd I admit. The control the royal family has over the press I would guess is similar to our politicians, in some ways they have control, in others they don’t. Certainly there has been bad press about the royal family, the don’t have complete control. Maybe the press is just showing them respect at times to not publish certains thing? I don’t know, like I said I am over here across the pond, but maybe you can enlighten me.

mammal's avatar

@JLeslie One of the royals, nobody knows who, was filmed purportedly snorting cocaine, and either administering or receiving oral sex. They were blackmailed, the police dealt with it, a judge judged it and no-body has a clue who it was. Personally i don’t care, but in this day and age, in a western democracy where the press is omnipresent, it beggars belief that such secrecy is made possible.

A sexual act between Prince Charles and a valet was supposedly witnessed by another servant, never mind the truth or otherwise, the pressure put on the English press was absolutely enormous, injunctions were hastily sought, and barely a breath of this claim was published. Most tabloids would have been all over this story. That makes me deeply suspicious.

JLeslie's avatar

@mammal Here’s the thing…I don’t think the press should be publishing the sex stuff. I don’t think the press should have publicised the Clinton Monica mess. Back in the day the press in America would not have done it. They did not talk about Kennedy’s affairs, and other presidents, I think it was better like that. If one of them was snorting cocaine and it is illegal, then he should have to go to open court like anyone else.

meiosis's avatar

@JLeslie As Britons we are free citizens, and we pledge allegiance to no one.

mammal's avatar

@JLeslie Cocaine is illegal in the UK, but of course video footage isn’t definitive, he/she may have been snorting talcum powder for a laugh. You don’t think the press should get involved in sexual scandal. Why not? what if it could compromise national security? or smack of gross hypocrisy in the case of a political leader? you don’t think it is in the public interest to be aware of these allegations?

mammal's avatar

@meiosis As Britons we are free citizens, and we pledge allegiance to no one absolute and complete nonsense,

meiosis's avatar

Sorry @mammal, but you are wrong. I have never sworn, pledged or otherwise made any oath or declaration of allegiance to anyone, and have never been asked to so do. The oath of allegiance your link points to is for officials and clergy when they take up a particular position, or for immigrants taking up UK citizenship. There is no generalised pledge of allegiance for UK citizens, no saluting of flags, no acts of obeisance, no hands on heart, no pious declarations of patriotism, nothing, nada, zilch.

mattbrowne's avatar

Tabloids will.

JLeslie's avatar

@mammal in the case of hypocrisy, like a politician on a constant rant about family values, or voting against gay rights, and then they are cheating, or are gay themselves, sure, I am fine with it. But, an affair like Clinton getting a BJ, is his wifes problem, not ours as citizens. If it compromises security, or he is spending tax money on her, then again it is our business, but otherwise no. From what I understand Clinton did not do any of those things. It disrupted the country, cost a lot of tax dollars in the end, and reinforced the bullshit of the right wing being all holier than thou in my country. If one of the royals is having sex, and it happens to get on tape somehow, I don’t see how that is anyones business, assuming it was not done ina public place.

Think about it, if your dad had an affair when you were a child, and he was caught, should he be fired? Or should it be up to your mother whether she wants to work on the relationship? Have your dad out of work and unable to support his family? I just don’t think someone should be fired for cheating on their spouse, unless it is shown to have affected their work. But, then they would be fired for not doing their job well. I know way too many men who cheat, and they do a great job in their careers. People may want to link the two things, but I don’t think we can.

Leanne1986's avatar

@JLeslie I completely agree with everything you have just said.

RareDenver's avatar

@meiosis I believe only a girl can currently take the throne if she has no brothers. i.e. it is the eldest son and if there is no son then the eldest daughter. I also believe they are currently looking at getting this updated to the first born regardless of gender.

mammal's avatar

@meiosis were you ever a scout or a cub?

meiosis's avatar

@mammal no I wasn’t. But last time I checked, no-one is forced to join those institutions and forced to swear allegiance to the queen.

@RareDenver you’re right. I thought the Act of Settlement had been amended to remove primogeniture, but the forces of inertia are strong

mammal's avatar

@meiosis no I wasn’t. But last time I checked, no-one is forced to join those institutions and forced to swear allegiance to the queen.

Well OK then, bit restrictive but there you go, i didn’t want to be an MP, Servicemen, Magistrate, member of the clergy or Policeman anyway :)

@JLeslie as i mentioned before, it is the Royal family’s enduring ability to make scandalous accusations disappear, i agree Bill Clinton’s Blow Job coverage was ridiculous, in France you are viewed with suspicion if you don’t have a mistress.

But Bill Clinton didn’t make the news story dissapear, that’s the point.

JLeslie's avatar

@mammal My point is I think the news story about Clinton should have been squashed.

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