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Re: A Question of Royalty
Posted By: wintermute, on host
Date: Thursday, October 11, 2001, at 06:28:06
In Reply To: A Question of Royalty posted by Grishny on Thursday, October 11, 2001, at 05:46:16:

> I have a question for our British Rinkydinks.
> I don't know a whole lot about the British
> political system. I know you have a parliament
> and a prime minister who pretty much run the
> country, and that you also have royalty who are
> mainly just figureheads with celebrity status.
> Is that correct?

Yes, Pretty much.

> But that's not my question. I've noticed that you
> have a queen, and princes and princesses
> and dukes and duchesses, etc. But no king.
> Where's the king?
> I know that Great Britain used to have a king.
> Even earlier in the twentieth century, didn't you
> have a king? But not anymore. Is it because
> he died, but the queen is still alive that you
> have a queen but no king? When the queen
> does pass on, will you once again have a
> king? (I would assume that Prince Charles
> would ascend the throne.) Would you then
> have a king but no queen? Is the queen not
> allowed to remarry, or does she simply
> choose not to?

OK, The current Queen was crowned in 1952, succeeding King George VI. The wife of a King is not in the line of succession, so his wife (the Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon)* did not become a monarch. Succession should then pass to the eldest son of the ex-monarch, but as George VI had two daughters and no sons, the title was passed to their eldest daughter, Princess Elizabeth Winsor, who became Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1947, she married Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark (For which he had to renounce his claim to the Greek Throne). As the husband of the reigning monarch, he couldn't take the title of "king" when Elizabeth was crowned, because in our mysogenistic culture, a king outranks a queen. So he kept the title of prince, and was also awarded the estates and demenses of Edinburgh, becoming "Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh". He also holds other titles (including a Knight of the Thistle and an Order of Merit) and a military commision (In 1952, he was appointed Admiral of the Sea Cadet Corps, Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Cadet Force and Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Air Training Corps. The following year he was promoted to Admiral of the Fleet and appointed Field Marshal and Marshal of the Royal Air Force. He is also Captain-General of the Royal Marines and Colonel-in-Chief, or Colonel, of a number of British and overseas regiments.)

When the Queen dies or abdicates, Prince Charles will become King Charles III. He is currently divorced, and although Princess Diana has since died, there is currently a constitutional discussion about whether a Monarch of England can be re-married, as he is dating Lady Camilla Parker-Bowles. The difficulty arises as the monarch is aslo head of the Church of England, which prohibits re-marrage. If it is allowed, someone will have to decide if she can take the title of "Queen" of if a new rank will have to be created to cover her.

Also on Charles' coronation, his eldest son (Prince William) will take all the titles that are attached to the Heir Apparent. These include Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and the Grand Cross Knight of the Order of the Garter, to name but a few.

> Hrm. I should have said "I have several
> inter-related questions..."
> Gri"and where are the barons?"shny

Oh, they're still around, but holding a barony means very little these days.

winter"Did that help clear up the confusion?"mute

* Yes, she did take the title of queen when her husband became king, but I only gave her maiden name in a feeble attempt to make this easier to understand. She currently holds the title of "Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother", a title created especially for her - presumably "Dowager Queen" sounded a bit off.

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