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Why is the British Monarchy the Institution of Great Tradition?

The United Kingdom Monarchy, often known as the British monarchy, is one of the oldest and most recognizable systems in the world. It has been essential to the history, politics, and culture of the nation for centuries. The monarchy is still a representation of history and continuity in the UK, even if it has evolved into a constitutional monarchy with a distinctive combination of modernism and historical relevance.

Historical Background

The British monarchy has over a millennium of historical origins. Æthelstan, the first King of England to be officially documented, ruled in the 10th century. William the Conqueror, who established the first dynasty, did so in 1066 during the Norman Conquest.

The British Isles have since been ruled by a number of royal dynasties, including the Tudors, the Stuarts, and the Plantagenets. The House of Hanover, which is now Windsor, assumed power in the 18th century.

A key step in limiting the monarch’s authority and establishing the idea of the rule of law was the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. The monarchy’s authority was further altered by the 17th-century English Civil War, which resulted in King Charles I’s execution. Parliament gained prominence, and a constitutional monarchy was established with the Glorious Revolution in 1688. This laid the groundwork for the eventual growth of the current constitutional monarchy.

Role of the United Kingdom Monarchy

The British monarchy serves a number of symbolic and legal functions in the present United Kingdom.

1. Constitutional Rule of Law

Since the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, the monarch’s authority is constrained by the provisions of the constitution and is decided upon by the prime minister and other elected authorities. Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights (1689), and the Parliament Acts (1911 and 1949) are only a few examples of the historical texts, customs, and laws that make up the nation’s constitution, which are not included in a single document.

2. Chief Executive

The monarch is the representative of the state and acts as its ceremonial head. Representing the nation’s continuity and unity is the monarch’s job. The monarch performs a number of ceremonial tasks in this role, including state dinners, award presentations, and official visits to foreign nations.

3. State Opening 

The State Opening of Parliament is one of the most important ceremonial occasions. The Queen gives the Queen’s Speech, which summarizes the government’s legislative priorities for the next parliamentary session, from the throne in the House of Lords. The speech is given in the monarch’s name, regardless of how the administration prepares it.

4. Parliament’s Dissolution

The legal power to dissolve Parliament and hold a general election rests with the monarch, although this is currently carried out on the prime minister’s recommendation. The monarch’s participation in this procedure is essentially symbolic in reality.

5. The Royal Assent

The monarch’s royal assent is required for a measure to become law, but this is just ceremonial, and no British monarch has ever declined a bill’s royal assent for more than three centuries. In this case, the government advises the monarch to take action.

6. Appointing the Prime Minister

The king appoints the prime minister, since this is a constitutional tradition. The monarch’s job is to formally choose the leader of the political party that holds the most seats in the House of Commons as prime minister.

7. A Cultural and Symbolic Function

In the UK, the monarchy has significant cultural and symbolic significance. It provides a sense of solidarity and national identity. At different functions and ceremonies, the king speaks for the country, and the Royal Family attracts attention from both domestic and foreign audiences.

8. The Economy and Tourism

The monarchy has a big effect on the nation’s economy and tourism as well. Travelers from all over the world come to the UK to view royal palaces and sites and take part in royal festivities. The monarchy sponsors several philanthropic groups and promotes the nation’s tourist sector.

9. Charitable Work and Philanthropy

The Royal Family participates in a range of nonprofit organizations and charity endeavors. The monarchy raises money and awareness for significant social concerns by using its position to support and encourage charity projects.

10. Modernization and Evolution

Over time, the monarchy has changed to reflect shifts in politics and culture. Despite having a strong historical foundation, the British monarchy is still evolving to meet the needs and ideals of the modern world.

The British Royal Family

The British royal family is renowned for both its historical significance and wide ancestry. Along with the current monarch, other senior members—like the heir apparent and their families—are also included. The House of Windsor, the present royal dynasty, has had both successes and setbacks. Global attention has been drawn to the union of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, Diana’s untimely death, and the scandals that followed.

The royal family’s more recent members, Prince William and Prince Harry, have worked to modernize the monarchy by emphasizing causes like philanthropic giving and mental health awareness. Their unions—Prince William with Catherine Middleton and Prince Harry with Meghan Markle, in particular—have modernized and expanded the monarchy’s popularity.

Three Important Facts About the United Kingdom Monarchy

1. Eligibility to Ascend the Throne

The kingship was transferred from the king to his firstborn son, beginning with William the Conqueror’s reign. This changed in 1702, when the Act of Settlement was passed by the British Parliament. It said that in the event of King William III’s death, the title or monarch would pass to Anne and the “heirs of her body,” which meant that a woman could inherit the throne provided a male heir wasn’t already available to take her place. 

Male heirs gained the throne before their sisters at the time due to English common law. The Act of Settlement further stipulated that any heir who married a Roman Catholic would be removed from the line of succession, a gesture towards the authority of the Church of England.

2. Authority to Veto Any Family Member’s Marriage

The king was given the power to reject any union made by members of the royal family under the Royal Marriage Act of 1772. George III was furious over his younger brother Prince Henry’s union with commoner Anne Horton.

Since then, royals who want to be married have needed to request approval from the Crown. Not all of the time was this permission given. The famously unsuited war hero Peter Townsend was to be married to Princess Margaret’s sister, Queen Elizabeth II, because he was also a commoner and a divorcee.

The Succession to the Crown Act of 2013 allowed heirs who were not among the first six in the line of royal succession to be married without the monarch’s consent, therefore somewhat constraining their power.

3. Are Commoners and British Royals Permitted to Get Married?

As early as the fifteenth century, British royals were marrying commoners; however, unions were never without controversy in a dynasty whose power is determined by bloodlines. Elizabeth Woodville, a widow of a commoner, was secretly married to King Edward IV in 1464. In addition, the future King James II married a commoner, Anne Hyde.

Royal weddings changed along with the norms of marriage, divorce, and partnerships in society. Both Prince William and Princess Diana’s offspring were allowed to wed commoners. In 2011, Prince William married Kate Middleton, who was the daughter of party supply company owners. In 2018, his brother Harry married American actress Meghan Markle.

Controversies and Challenges

The British monarchy has had its fair share of difficulties and disputes. These include discussions over the expenses associated with the monarchy, its applicability in today’s democratic society, and concerns with the conduct of certain members of the royal family. A few instances of topics that have generated public discussion include Prince Andrew’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s choice to abdicate their royal responsibilities.

a) Prince Andrew’s and Jeffrey Epstein Controversy

Prince Andrew’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein has generated debate and drawn attention from the media. Since the 1990s, Epstein, a rich investor and convicted sexual offender, has maintained a close association with the Duke of York. When reports surfaced that Virginia Giuffre had been forced to have many sexual experiences with Prince Andrew while still a juvenile and had been sexually trafficked by Epstein, the scandal erupted. Prince Andrew angrily refuted these claims, insisting he had no memory of ever having met Giuffre.

Prince Andrew’s disastrous BBC interview in November 2019 intensified the situation. He defended his association with Epstein in the interview, saying that he had broken it up in 2010. His public image was seriously damaged by the widespread criticism of his comments as being callous and out of touch. Legal scrutiny escalated as a result of this.

Prince Andrew was under increasing pressure to assist American police in their probe into Epstein’s purported sex trafficking ring. In the end, he consented to provide a statement, although he has not been charged with a crime in the US.

The consequences of the dispute were substantial. Following his voluntary resignation from his official royal duties in November 2019, Prince Andrew has mostly avoided the spotlight. His reputation was damaged by the controversy, which also had larger ramifications for the Royal Family and conversations regarding the public’s connection with the monarchy.

The Prince Andrew-Jeffrey Epstein scandal highlights significant issues with public people’s responsibility, the legal ramifications of making such claims, and the long-term effects on a well-known member of the Royal Family. The Duke of York’s future position within the Royal Family, ongoing legal actions, and investigations are still topics of discussion and intrigue.

b) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Referred to as “Megxit,” Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to resign from their positions as senior members of the British Royal Family caused a great deal of controversy.

They declared their goal to achieve more privacy and freedom, along with financial independence, in January 2020. Their tense relationship with the British paparazzi, which they said invaded their privacy, and the unfavorable media portrayal were major factors in the scandal.

Their journey towards achieving financial autonomy and their subsequent transactions with media firms sparked speculation about their potential future responsibilities in the Royal Family. In the end, they gave up their titles of His/Her Royal Highness and other royal patronages, which upset some but demonstrated their will to live independently.

The couple’s abandonment highlighted more general debates about the contemporary monarchy, media attention, and the challenges of balancing tradition and individuality within the Royal Family. It also spurred continuous discussions regarding the couple’s humanitarian endeavors, interactions with the British people, and the place of the monarchy in modern society.

What Lies Ahead For Monarchy?

The British monarchy is faced with both new opportunities and problems as the world moves into the 21st century. There is continuous debate over the monarchy’s long-term viability. It still has a lot of public support, and the institution’s capacity for change and adaptation will be essential to its ongoing relevance.


The British monarchy is a long-standing and illustrious institution that has remained resilient throughout history. It is a fundamental tenet of British society because of its historical origins, symbolic meaning, and changing roles. Despite opposition and controversy, the monarchy is still a representation of history, customs, and national identity. In the UK’s political and cultural environment, the British monarchy is expected to continue to be a unique and enduring feature as it continues to face the difficulties of the contemporary world.


What Function Does the Monarchy in the United Kingdom Serve in Governance?

In terms of government, the monarchy in the United Kingdom is mostly ceremonial and symbolic. The monarch follows the recommendations of elected authorities and is subject to constitutional limitations on their authority. The monarchy performs a number of ceremonial tasks and serves as the nation’s representative.

How Can One Become the Heir Apparent to the British Throne?

Primogeniture rules that the firstborn child, male or female, gets the crown. This makes him or her the heir apparent to the British monarchy. Previously, male successors held priority, but this was changed in 2013 to provide parity between genders in the succession.

Does the Monarchy In Britain Actually Hold Any Political Sway?

No, the powers of the British monarchy are mostly symbolic. The Prime Minister leads the government, with elected officials handling day-to-day operations while the monarch fulfills significant ceremonial roles.

Why Is the State Opening of Parliament Important, and What Does It Mean?

The Queen’s Speech, which outlines the government’s legislative program, is delivered by the queen during the State Opening of Parliament, a major ceremonial occasion. It symbolizes the role of the monarchy in the legislative process and officially opens a new parliamentary session.

Do the Royal Family Members Carry Out Philanthropic Work?

Yes, a large number of the Royal Family’s members actively participate in philanthropic endeavors and institutions. They support and advocate for several philanthropic causes with their platform, which frequently results in increased financing and public awareness of significant social concerns.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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