A Short Guide to the Queen's Life
Most people recognize her face.
Conservative in dress, she is
well-known for her solid-color
coats and decorative hats.
Queen Elizabeth II.
The most widely-traveled British head of state
in history, she has developed friendships with
many foreign leaders, including Nelson Mandela
and George H.W. Bush. She advises prime
ministers. Apart from the United Kingdom, she
is also Queen of 16 Commonwealth Realms and
Head of State of the 14 British Overseas Territories.
She is the Head of the Armed Forces and
Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of
the Church of England. She is the ‘Fount of Justice,’
in whose name justice is carried out, and
law and order is maintained. The fortieth monarch
since William the Conqueror, the greatgreat-
granddaughter of Queen Victoria, married
to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; she has
four children and seven grandchildren.
Her personal fortune has been estimated at
around ₤280 million and her personal art collection
is worth at least ₤10 billion. She possesses
an extensive collection of jewelry. During her
reign, she has received many unusual gifts including
live animals such as jaguars and sloths.
The Queen of England owns 88 swans and cygnets
on the River Thames looked after by the
Royal Swan Keeper, as well as sturgeons, whales
and dolphins in the waters around the UK, recognized as ‘Fishes Royal.’ She spends her life in
palaces and celebrates her birthday twice a year.
Wouldn’t you like to be Queen of England?
However, in practice, she personally exercises
very little political executive power in the
day-to-day running of the country outside of her
traditional ceremonial and advisory duties. As
a constitutional monarch she cannot express her
personal political opinions publicly. Neither she
nor her family ever vote or stand for election to
Her personal art collection is held in trust
for the nation and cannot be sold. Her castles are
open to visitors for most of the year and serve
many functions–as venues for State and official
events, as working spaces for a wide range
of people and as historic buildings for visits by
members of the public. Her busy days include
many duties to perform–some are public duties,
such as ceremonies, receptions and visits
within the United Kingdom or abroad, others
are carried out away from cameras: reading letters
from the public, official papers and briefing
notes; audiences with political ministers or ambassadors;
and meetings with her Private Secretaries
to discuss daily business and her future
The Queen in Public
Her presence in public is an essential part of
British life. Acting as a focus for national unity
and identity, she expresses the mood of the nation.
Through her engagements and walkabouts,
the Queen is able to meet people from every
walk of life. The Queen’s visits have included:
the sets of soap operas Coronation Street, Eastenders
and Emmerdale; a council flat in Glasgow,
a Welsh power station, a mosque, a Hindu
temple and a Sikh temple and a London bus depot.
On some evenings, the Queen may attend
a film première, a variety of concert performances
in aid of a charitable cause, or a reception
linked to organizations of which she is Patron.
Her appearance at the world premiere of
the new James Bond film made it a memorable
and outstanding event. Her Majesty also regularly
hosts official receptions and garden parties
at Buckingham Palace.
In June 2002, the Queen hosted the first
public concerts in the gardens of Buckingham
Palace to celebrate her Golden Jubilee–
the 50th anniversary of her reign. The Queen
attended both the classical and pop concerts.
The ‘Party at the Palace’ concert was one of the
most watched pop concerts in history, attracting
around 200 million viewers all over the world.
Royal Protocol and Titles
Royal protocol is very strict. Some of the traditional
rules for dealing with the monarch have
been eased, for example, bowing is no longer
required. However, other forms of close interaction,
such as touching, are discouraged by officials.
One of the people who broke this rule
was Paul Keating, Prime Minister of Australia,
who put his arm around the Queen when a photograph
was being taken.
The Queen’s formal style and title vary
slightly in each of her realms. The Queen’s title
in the UK is “Elizabeth the Second, by the
Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other
Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the
Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.” In correspondence
she takes an abbreviated form of
the Latin description, using the signature ‘Elizabeth
R’ (which stands for ‘Regina’ or Queen).
The Queen also has other titles by which she is
known in different parts of Britain. In the Isle of
Man, for example, she is Lord of Man. In common
practice, Queen Elizabeth is referred to
simply as “The Queen” or “Her Majesty.” When
in conversation, one should initially address her
as “Your Majesty” and thereafter as “Ma’am.”
The Queen’s Birthday
The Queen has her actual birthday on 21st April
and celebrates privately with her family. She also
celebrates her official birthday on the first or
the second Saturday in June. The tradition was
started for practical reasons–monarchs who
had their birthdays in winter often encountered
problems with weather conditions spoiling the
parades and other outdoor events.
In 2006, Queen turned 80 on 21 April and
celebrated her official birthday on 17 June. The
celebrations virtually lasted from the 20 April
to 25 June, the events including a birthday dinner
and fireworks at Kew Palace, a ‘Service over
Sixty’ reception, traditional Trooping the Color (a
military pageant or ceremony performed by the
regiments of the Commonwealth and the British
Army) and a Children’s Party at the Buckingham
Palace to celebrate the magic of books.
The Queen in Numbers
Her busy lifestyle could be best expressed in
numbers. During her reign, the Queen has:
● conferred over 387,700 honors and awards,
● received over 3 million items of correspondence,
● sent around 100,000 telegrams to centenarians
and over 280,000 telegrams
to couples in the UK and the Commonwealth
celebrating their diamond wedding
● become patron of more than 620 charities
● undertaken over 256 official overseas visits
to 129 different countries,
● opened 15 bridges in the United Kingdom
and launched 23 ships,
● given out about 78,000 Christmas puddings
● given Royal Assent to 3135 Acts of Parliament,
● sat for 139 official portraits during her
lifetime and 11 sculptures,
● and the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh
have sent about 37,500 Christmas cards.
Did You Know?
Queen Elizabeth’s interests include: photography,
horse racing and horse breeding. She also
breeds dogs. During her reign she has owned
more than 30 corgis and a new breed of dog
known as the “dorgi” when one of Her Majesty’s
corgis was mated with a dachshund.
The Queen also breeds and trains Labradors
and Cocker Spaniels at Sandringham. A lesser
known interest is Scottish country dancing. She
also continues the Royal Family’s long association
with racing pigeons, being the Patron of
a number of racing societies, including the Royal
Pigeon Racing Association.
As a young girl, the Queen acted in
a number of Pantomimes during World War II including
playing the part of Prince Florizel in Cinderella
in 1941. These pantomimes took place
every year in the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor
Castle. During the World War II, the Queen
served in the Army and learned to drive there.
The residences associated with today’s Royal
Family are divided into the Occupied Royal
Residences, which are held in trust for future
generations, and the Private Estates which
have been handed down to the Queen by earlier
generations of the Royal Family. The Occupied
Royal Palaces serve as venues for State and official
events, as working spaces for a wide range
of people and as historic buildings for visits by
members of the public.
Buckingham Palace in London is a working
building and the centerpiece of Britain’s
constitutional monarchy, the venue for grand
Royal ceremonies, State Visits and Investitures.
The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace is
a permanent space dedicated to changing exhibitions
of items from the Royal Collection.
Windsor Castle is an official residence of
the Queen and the largest occupied castle in the
world. Today the Queen uses the Castle both as
a private home, where she usually spends the
weekend, and as a Royal Residence. Every year
the Queen takes up official residence in Windsor
Castle for a month over Easter (March-April),
known as Easter Court. During that time the
Queen hosts occasional ‘dine and sleep’ events
for guests, including politicians and public figures.
She is also in residence for a week in June,
when she attends the service of the Order of the
Garter and the Royal Ascot race meeting.
Another working Royal Residence is
Kensington Palace in London, which accommodates
the offices and private apartments of
a number of members of the Royal Family.
There are also palaces in Scotland: the
Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh and Balmoral
Castle. The former is the Queen’s official
residence in Scotland, which is also the backdrop
for formal State occasions. Most recently,
it was the setting for a lunch during a State Visit
by President Putin of the Russian Federation.
The latter is the private residence of the Queen;
her favorite during the summer holiday period
in August and September.
oddział Szkoły FELBERG w Lublinie