The Royal Family
At present the British royal
family is headed by Queen Elizabeth. When the Queen was born on the 21st of
April 1926, her grandfather, King George V, was on the throne and her uncle was
his heir. The death of her grandfather and the abdication of her uncle brought
her father to the throne as King George VI.
As a child she studied
constitutional history and law as well as art and music. In addition she
learned to ride and acquired her enthusiasm for horses. As she grew older she
began to take part in public life, making her first broadcast at the age of 14.
The marriage of the young
Princess Elizabeth to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh took place in November 1947.
She came to the throne after her father's death in 1952 and was crowned in
Westminster Abbey in June 1953.
Among Queen Elizabeth's many
duties are the regular visits she makes to foreign countries, and especially
those of the Commonwealth, whose interests and welfare are very important to
her. The Queen has allowed the BBC to make a documentary film about the every
day of the royal family. She also started the tradition of the
"walkabout", an informal feature of an otherwise formal royal visit,
when she walks among the public crowds and stops to talk to some people.
The annual Christmas broadcast
made by the Queen on radio and television has become a traditional and popular
feature of the season, and there were widespread celebrations and special
programmes of events in 1977 to mark her Silver Jubilee.
The Queen's husband, Duke of
Edinburgh, was born in 1926 and served in the Royal Navy. He takes a great deal
of interest in industry, in the achievements of young people (he founded Duke
of Edinburgh's Award Scheme in 1956) and in saving raise wild animals from
The Queen's heir is Charles,
Prince of Wales, who was born in 1948, married Lady Diana Spencer and has two
children, Prince William and Prince Harry. The Prince of Wales is well-known as
a keen promoter of British interests.
In recent years he has become
outspoken on such controversial topics as modern architecture, violence in
films and on television, and the standard of English teaching in schools. His
wife Diana, Princess of Wales (often called in mass media Princess Di), won the
affection of many people by her modesty, shyness and beauty. Unfortunately, she
died in a car accident in August, 1997.
The Queen's other children are
Princess Anne (born in 1950), Prince Andrew (born in 1960) and Prince Edward
(born in 1964). Anne, Princess Royal, has acquired a reputation for being
arrogant, but in recent years has become quite popular with the general public.
The Queen is widely known for
her interest in horses and horse-racing. She is now president of the Save the
Children Fund, Chancellor of the University of London and carries out many
Prince Andrew, Duke of York,
served as a helicopter pilot in the Royal Navy. In 1986 he married Miss Sarah
Ferguson (Fergie, for short) and has two daughters.
Prince Edward is keen on the
theatre. This interest began while he was at university. He quit the Royal Marines,
and is now pursuing a career with a theatrical company.
The Queen Mother, the widow of
the late King George VI, celebrated her one hundred birthday in 2 000 and died
in 2002. The Queen's only sister, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, is
well-known for her charity work.