The Queen presides over meetings of the Privy
Council. At these, among other things, Orders in Council made under the
Royal Prerogative or under statute are approved. The Royal Prerogative
mainly comprises executive government - powers controlled by
constitutional conventions (rules which are not part of the law, but which
are regarded as indispensable to the machinery of government).
nearly all cases acts involving the Royal Prerogative are performed by
Ministers who are responsible to Parliament and can be questioned about
policies. Parliament has the power to abolish or restrict a prerogative
right. In addition to being informed and consulted about all aspects of
national life, the Queen is free to put forward her own views, in private,
for the consideration of her Ministers.
76 Why does the
Queen have two birthdays?
The Queen was
actually born on 21 April, but it has long been customary to celebrate the
Sovereign’s birthday on a day during the summer. Since 1805 the
Sovereign’s ‘official’ birthday has been marked by the Trooping the Colour
ceremony, normally held on the second Saturday in June.
This is a
ceremony which originated when it was essential for soldiers to recognise
the flag or ‘Colour’ of their regiment so that they could follow it into
battle. Each year one of the five regiments of the foot guards
(Grenadiers, Coldstream Guards, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards) take turns
to display their Colour in the ceremony.
The ceremony begins with the
Queen leaving Buckingham Palace escorted by the Household Cavalry. She
rides down The Mall to Horse Guards Parade and inspects the 500
The Colour is trooped by being carried along the ranks of
guardsmen, and the Colour party then leads the guards on a march past the
Queen, accompanied by the massed bands of the foot guards.
particular annual ceremony is held on the Queen’s true birthday, although
the Union Flag is flown on public buildings and the national anthem is
77 Who is next in
line to the throne after Prince Charles?
Line of Succession
1. The Prince of Wales (b. 1948)
William of Wales (b. 1982)
3. Prince Henry of Wales (b. 1984)
Duke of York (b. 1960)
5. Princess Beatrice of York (b. 1988)
Princess Eugenie of York (b. 1990)
7. Prince Edward (b. 1964)
Princess Royal (b. 1950)
9. Peter Phillips, son of the Princess Royal
10. Zara Phillips, daughter of the Princess Royal (b.
78 Why is the heir
to the throne called the Prince of Wales?
The Heir Apparent
has, since the institution of the title by King Edward I in 1301, usually
been ‘created’ Prince of Wales. Edward I led the conquest of independent
Wales between 1277 and 1283. He subsequently proclaimed his son, Edward,
born at Caernarfon in Wales in 1284, the Prince of Wales. There is no
succession to the title, which is only renewed at the Sovereign’s
pleasure. The present Prince of Wales is the 21st in line - counting
several who were never formally invested! Prince Charles was created
Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle on July 1st 1969.
79 What does ‘Royal’
mean in the context of Royal Borough of... Royal Society of...?
The use of the word ‘Royal’ in connection with a society, borough or
organisation indicates that they were founded or established by, or are
under the patronage of, a Sovereign or royal person.
There are three
English boroughs that have the title ‘Royal’: Kensington and Chelsea,
Kingston upon Thames and Windsor and Maidenhead, indicating that
historically a Sovereign has conferred that title upon them.
many other ‘Royal’ societies or organisations that have received Royal
patronage, among them the Royal Automobile Club, granted the patronage of
Edward VII in 1907, and the Royal Society - a society incorporated by
Charles II in 1662 for the pursuit and advancement of the physical
80 What are Royal
Since the Middle Ages, tradespeople who have acted as suppliers of
goods and services to the Sovereign have received the honour of formal
recognition. In the beginning this patronage took the form of royal
charters given collectively to various trade guilds; later the
relationship between the Crown and individual tradespeople was formalised
by the issue of royal warrants.
To become eligible for the status of
royal tradesperson, the head of a company must be able to show that they
have supplied a substantial amount of goods and services to the Royal
Household for a period of not less than three consecutive years.
Application is then made to the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, which
supervises the granting of warrants.
Once granted, the warrant, which
is governed by strict regulations, allows the grantee or their company to
use the legend ‘By Appointment’ and to display the Royal Arms on their
products, such as stationery, advertisements and on their premises. Royal
warrants of appointment are granted only by the Queen,
the Duke of
Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and the Prince of
81 What are the words of the National Anthem?
The British national anthem
originated in a patriotic song first performed in 1745. There is no
authorised version - the words used are a matter of tradition. On official
occasions it is usual to sing the first verse only, the words of which are
||“ God save our gracious
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over
God save the Queen! ”
82 What is the
origin of the mottoes ‘Dieu et mon droit’ and ‘Honi soit qui mal y
‘Dieu et mon droit’
(French for ‘God and my right’) is the motto of the Sovereign. The words
were the countersign (military password) chosen by King Richard I before
the battle of Gisors in 1198, meaning that he was no vassal of France, but
owed his royalty to God alone. The French were defeated in battle, but the
password was not adopted as the royal motto of England until the time of
Henry VI and has since been retained by his successors. The motto appears
below the shield on the Royal Coat of Arms.
‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’
(French for ‘Evil be to him who evil thinks’) appears on a garter which
surrounds the shield on the Royal Coat of Arms. This garter symbolises the
Order of the Garter, an ancient order of knighthood of which the Queen is
Sovereign. The Order of the Garter was founded by Edward III in 1348
during the Hundred Years War with France.
The motto may well have been
directed at critics of the King’s claims to the French throne; however,
according to a tradition first recorded by Tudor chroniclers, the motto
originated at a feast celebrating the capture of Calais in 1347. The
King’s mistress, the Countess of Salisbury, was mocked by courtiers for
losing her garter during a dance, but Edward at once stepped forward and
tied the blue ribbon around his own knee, uttering the motto as a rebuke
and declaring that the Garter would soon be held in the highest
83 What does the Royal Crest represent?
The Royal crest - a lion bearing the
Royal crown - is used as a device to denote articles of personal property
belonging to the Queen, or to denote goods bearing the Royal Warrant. The
crest is taken from the Royal Coat of Arms, where it is placed above the
shield and helmet.