British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is surely the world's most famous family. The lineage of rulers of the British Commonwealth of Nations is central to world history. Many individuals are not aware of the checkered past of the family, or extended families. Monarchs who rule continually for hundreds of years are perceived as ruthless. The contemporary Queen Elizabeth, who has ruled for nearly 60 years, and the British Royal Family actually function publicly with great articulation. They give no appearance of malevolence.
Perceptively reigning in a benign fashion, the pomp and circumstance of history is still a mandated presentation for the British Royal Family. The arrogance and devotion that was utilized over the centuries is still in tact, possibly as never before. The regal display of the "Changing of the Guard" and the "Trooping of the Colours" is still performed at regular intervals, but is perceived as a traditional formal function of the State. Queen Elizabeth II is formally still the Head of State. Parliament merely runs the government. With each change of Prime Minister, the newly-elected Prime Minister still must ask the Queen for the authority to form a government. Though she functions as a supreme diplomat, her official title suggests ultimate power. The rigid cycle that is commanded at Buckingham Palace is a clear show of that power.
The contemporary governmental structure suggests that the Queen continues to serve the State in a traditional position of constitutional monarchy, and the activity of the government must carry the blessings of the British Royal Family. The current structure may be a political perception, but the truth is that these "traditional" activities are still mandatory. It is clear the power grid remains active and the Royal Family continues to rule the United Kingdom and its various colonial possessions. They retain immense power and influence worldwide, regardless of political perception.
Wealth is also a primary characteristic of the British Royal Family. The actual private portfolio of HM Queen Elizabeth II is unknown. It is known that she is paid in excess of $83 million annually to operate as the Head of State, with a combination of expenditure allocations the balance of which exceeds $20 million yearly. HRH Prince Charles was issued a $1 billion portfolio as the first in line to the throne, under the agreement to establish a constitutional monarchy. His siblings get nothing, unless it comes from the Queen's allowance.
Queen Elizabeth II is also a member of the former German royal family. Her husband, HRH Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark, is a member of that family as well and is her third cousin. Queen Victoria was the great-great grandmother of both Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. The primary royal families of Europe have historically inter-married to maintain centralized power and wealth. The entangled relationships gave the impression during both world wars that the conflicts possibly stemmed from family arguments, with both sides of the wars being funded by the same entities.
The surname of the British Royal Family has also been problematic. The House of Windsor is merely the name of one of the Royal properties, Windsor Castle. The actual family surname since Queen Victoria reigned has been Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Queen Victoria was a member of the royal House of Hanover, but her husband, Prince Albert, was also from the royal House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha of Europe. Queen Elizabeth's father, George V, changed the name to Windsor in protest after his brother refused the Crown due to his unacceptable marriage.
Great Britain was at war with Germany during World War I and the family surname reflected the British Royal Family's German heritage. Managing the populace is the priority of power maintenance. The official surname of the children of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark is now Mountbatten-Windsor, as Mountbatten is Prince Philip's actual surname. This was authorized by Queen Elizabeth II when she was crowned in 1952.
Though the British Royal Family has many extensions, the actual members of the family that maintain formal titles are limited to connection via biology or marriage into the central family. The line of ascension to the throne, and hence the (divine?) right to rule, is handed down primarily to the oldest male of the nuclear royal bloodline, unless determined to be unfit or he refuses the title. Only then is the throne succession advanced to the ranking female as a last alternative. Queen Elizabeth II is the last true queen to occupy the throne since Queen Anne.
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