The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






British Royal Family

The British Royal Family is a group of people closely related to the British monarch. Although there is no strict legal definition of who is or is not a member of the Royal Family [1], and different lists will include different people, those carrying the title HM or HRH are generally accepted as being members. Usually this equates to the following people being considered to be a member: the British Sovereign (the king or queen); the consort of the Sovereign (his or her spouse); the widowed consorts of previous Sovereigns; the children of the Sovereign (princes and princesses); the grandchildren of the Sovereign in the male line; and the spouses of a Sovereign's children and male-line grandchildren. Prior to 1917, great grandchildren in the male line would also be considered royal.


List of members

This is a list of current members of the royal family, as taken from the British government's homepage on the Royal Family.

Recently deceased members of the family are:

List of extended members

A list of extended relations of the British Royal Family might include:

None of these persons holds royal titles, carries out official duties on behalf of the Queen, or receives any monies from the Privy Purse. However, the Queen does invite them to private family functions and to participate in official royal occasions, such as the Trooping of the Colour, the Golden Jubilee celebrations, and ceremonial or state funerals.

There are three living former spouses of members of the British Royal Family:

Parliamentary Annuities

Only some members of the Royal Family carry out public duties; these individuals receive an annual payment known as a Parliamentary Annuity.

  • HRH The Duke of Edinburgh 359,000
  • HRH The Duke of York 249,000
  • TRH The Duke and Duchess of Kent 236,000
  • HRH The Princess Royal 228,000
  • HRH Princess Alexandra 225,000
  • TRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester 175,000
  • HRH The Earl of Wessex 141,000

The Queen agreed to pay taxes on income and capital gains from 1993, at the same time it was announced that only the Queen, Prince Philip, and the Queen Mother would receive civil list payments in the future.

However, civil list payments to the other royals were not abolished. Instead payments to them continued and the Queen pays an equivalent sum back to the Treasury. This was thought to be a technical arrangement to cover administrative and legal difficulties of stopping the payments. But the Queen saves about 536,000 a year in income tax by setting off the money she pays back to the Treasury against her own tax bill

Style and title

The style His Majesty or Her Majesty (HM) is enjoyed by a King, a Queen (regnant), a Queen consort, and a former Queen consort (a Queen Dowager or a Queen Mother).

Use of the style His Royal Highness or Her Royal Highness (HRH) and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess is governed by Letters Patent issued by King George V on 30 November1917 (published in the London Gazette on 11 December 1917). These Letters Patent state that henceforth, only the children of the Sovereign, the children of the sons of the Sovereign, and the eldest son of the eldest son of The Prince of Wales would "have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour." They further state, "the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes."

Under these conventions, The Queen's children and the children of The Prince of Wales and The Duke of York are titled Princes or Princesses and styled Royal Highness. Likewise, The Duke of Gloucester, The Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy, and Prince Michael of Kent enjoy the titular dignity of Prince or Princess and the style Royal Highness as male-line grandchildren of King George V. However, none of their children has a royal title. For example, the children of Prince Michael of Kent are known as Lord Frederick Windsor and Lady Gabriella Windsor (the courtesy titles as children of dukes), instead of HRH Prince Frederick and HRH Princess Gabriella, respectively. The children of The Princess Royal, Princess Alexandra, and the late Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, are not Royal Highnesses, since princesses do not normally transmit their titles to their children. Princess Margaret's son enjoys the courtesy title Viscount Linley as the son and heir of the Earl of Snowdon, while her daughter enjoys the courtesy title Lady. The children of the Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra have no titles, because Captain Mark Philips and Sir Angus Oglivy do not hold hereditary peerages.

Women marrying sons and male-line grandsons of a Sovereign are normally styled Her Royal Highness followed by the feminised version of her husband's highest title. The wives of royal peers are known as "HRH The Duchess of ..." or " HRH The Countess of ..." Thus, the wives of the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Gloucester, and the Earl of Wessex are "HRH The Duchess of Kent," "HRH The Duchess of Gloucester," and "HRH The Countess of Wessex," respectively. Before her divorce, the late Diana, Princess of Wales enjoyed the title and style of "HRH The Princess of Wales." However, when a woman marries a prince who does not hold a peerage, she is known as HRH Princess [Her husband's Christian name], followed by whatever territorial or titular designation. For example, the former Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz enjoys the title and style of "HRH Princess Michael of Kent," instead of "HRH Princess Marie-Christine of Kent." Similarly, the former Birgitte Eva van Deurs was titled "HRH Princess Richard of Gloucester" from her wedding day until her husband succeeded to his father's dukedom in 1974. The widows of princes remain HRH. However, under Queen Elizabeth II's 21 August 1996 Letters Patent, a divorced wife of a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland "shall not be entitled to hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness."

There has been one exception to the convention that wives of princes take their husband's rank. In Letters Patent dated 28 May 1937, King George VI specifically denied the style HRH to the wife of the Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII. Therefore, the former Wallis Warfield Simpson was known as "Her Grace The Duchess of Windsor," not "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Windsor."

The daughters and male-line granddaughters of the Sovereign do not lose their royal titles upon marriage. Men who marry the daughters and the male-line granddaughters of the Sovereign, however, do not acquire their wives' royal rank and the style HRH. The only exception to this convention is Prince Philip. Born a Prince of Greece and Denmark , it was only after his wartime service that he renounced his title and became a naturalised British subject, as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten RN. The day before his marriage he was created Duke of Edinburgh with the style HRH by King George VI's Letters Patent of 1947 November 19. The Duke of Edinburgh was not created a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland until 1957. On Tanna, one of the islands in Vanuatu in the South West Pacific, the Duke is worshipped as a god. Vanuatu was formerly the Anglo-French Condominium of the New Hebrides, which Prince Philip visited in 1971.

As grandchildren of the Sovereign through the female line, the children of the then Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh would not have been entitled to use HRH or Prince or Princess until their mother became Queen, had those titles and styles not been granted in Letters Patent of 22 October 1948.

Finally, on the wedding day of HRH The Earl of Wessex to the then Miss Sophie Rhys-Jones, Buckingham Palace announced that, with the couple's agreement, any children they have should not be given the style His or Her Royal Highness, but would have courtesy titles as sons or daughters of an earl. HRH The Countess of Wessex gave birth to a daughter on 8 November 2003. The press secretary to the Queen announced that the infant would be styled the Lady Louise Windsor, though no Royal Warrant or Letters Patent were issued to this effect.


Female consorts of the Sovereign have generally not been created peers or peeresses. A notable exception occurred in 1532, when Henry VIII created Anne Boleyn Marquess of Pembroke(he gave her the male version of the title as opposed to the female version) before marrying her. Male consorts, however, have sometimes been granted dukedoms. The husband of Mary I was already King of Spain, and that of Mary II was jointly Sovereign in England, so neither of them received peerage dignities. Prince George of Denmark, the husband of Anne (later Queen Anne), was created Duke of Cumberland in 1683. Victoria's husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, was given the style Royal Highness before his marriage. In 1857, Queen Victoria granted him title of Prince Consort; however, Prince Albert was not made a British peer. Prince Philip, husband of the present Queen, was created Duke of Edinburgh and granted the style Royal Highness the day before his wedding (which occurred prior to her accession).

Generally, the sons of the Sovereign are awarded peerage dignities to mark either adulthood or marriage. Originally, younger sons of the Sovereign were not styled Princes (except the Prince of Wales); thus, in order to indicate their exalted rank, peerage dignities were conferred upon them. From the time of Edward III, nearly every son of a Sovereign surviving into adulthood became a Duke. Certain dukedoms were granted more often than others, including the Dukedoms of York, Albany and Clarence. Normally, a dukedom once awarded to a member of the Royal Family is not thereafter granted to any non-Royal.

The Dukedom of York is generally created for the second son of the Sovereign. The first creation was in 1384; the dukedom merged in the Crown in 1483. Every Duke thereafter has either died without heirs or succeeded to the Crown, and so has not been able to leave the Royal Family. The pattern of awarding the dukedom to the second-eldest son of the Sovereign was upset by George I, who gave the Dukedom of York and Albany to his younger brother. The Dukedom of York and Albany was next granted by George II to the second son of his son, who had predeceased him. York and Albany featured one last time as a dukedom in 1784, when George III granted it to his second son. Thereafter, the dukedom has always borne the designation York, rather than York and Albany. The current duke is The Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Dukedom of Albany served a function similar to the Dukedom of York in Scotland. The dukedom was created in 1398 for Robert Stewart, brother of King Robert III. It was at the time the only dukedom other than the Dukedom of Rothesay. It was created thrice more in Scotland: twice for the second son of a Sovereign, and once for a brother of a Sovereign. It was last created in 1881 for the fourth son of Victoria; the dukedom was then suspended under the Titles Deprivation Act after its holder fought on the side of Germany during World War I.

There are several other dukedoms that have been used for members of the Royal Family. Clarence was first used as a dukedom in 1362, most of the time being granted to the third son of the Sovereign. Among the dukedoms granted to still younger sons of the Sovereign are Aumale, Cambridge, Connaught, Cumberland, Edinburgh, Gloucester, Kent and Sussex. Some of those dukedoms were used for younger brothers, nephews and other kinsmen of Sovereigns. The dukedom of Windsor was also a Royal dukedom, being granted to Edward VIII after he abdicated so that he could marry against the tenets of the Church of England.

Often, sons of the Sovereign were granted titles associated with England and Scotland, later with Ireland, and most recently with Wales. Thus, the Dukedom of Strathearn (named after a place in Scotland) has been held with the Dukedoms of Connaught (named after an Irish province), Kent and Cumberland (both named after English places). This pattern continues in the present Royal Family. The current Duke of York, for example, is also Earl of Inverness and Baron Killyleagh; the subsidiary titles are associated with Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively.

The convention of granting dukedoms to senior members of the Royal Family was broken most recently in 1999, when The Prince Edward was created Earl of Wessex. The Earldom of Wessex had never been created earlier by an English or British Sovereign. It has been suggested that the Dukedom of Edinburgh will eventually be granted to the Earl of Wessex. The dukedom will descend to Charles, Prince of Wales, however, and not to the Earl of Wessex. When The Prince of Wales becomes Sovereign, or if he is already Sovereign when the dukedom passes to him, the dukedom will merge in the Crown and then only become available for a regnant.

The highest peerage dignity belonging to a Prince may be used as a part of the title of that Prince's children. Thus, the sons of The Prince of Wales are Prince William of Wales and Prince Henry of Wales; the daughters of the Duke of York are Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York; the daughter of the Earl of Wessex is Princess Louise of Wessex. (In the last case, the Princess is normally referred to as Lady Louise Windsor at the wishes of her parents, but officially remains a Princess.)

Sovereigns, especially Charles II, have sometimes granted peerage dignities to illegitimate children. James Scott became Duke of Monmouth in 1663. Many more creations, mostly earldoms, followed in the 1670s: Charles FitzCharles became Earl of Plymouth, Charles FitzRoy Duke of Southampton, Henry FitzRoy Earl of Euston, George FitzRoy Earl of Northumberland, Charles Beauclerk Earl of Burford and Charles Lennox Duke of Richmond and Lennox. Many of the earls who were sons of Charles later became Dukes. Of the current Dukes, four are illegitimate descendants of Charles: the Duke of Richmond, Lennox and Gordon, the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, the Duke of Grafton and the Duke of St Albans.

See also

(Line of Succession to the British throne).

External links

The contents of this article are licensed from under the GNU Free Documentation License. How to see transparent copy