Royalty

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Current Queen of England, Elizabeth II, appears to be the fortieth monarch in the United Kingdom since the establishment of monarchy on these lands in 1066 by William The Conqueror, who created the one state out of seven remaining kingdoms in the area. Such a big number reflects the idea of several dynasties’ reign in England, which in this or that way contributed to the development of England as a sovereign and independent country.

The first dynasty initiated by William The Conqueror, the Norman House, has changed four kings until 1154, when the throne was taken by the House of Plantagenet of French origin (usually recognized as Angevins). Among its seven kings, which ruled till the beginning of the 15th century, the most famous and prominent was Richard The Lion Heart, whose rule lasted nearly 10 years.

The next monarchies were established by collateral relationships of Plantagenet’s: House of Lancaster until 1461 (three kings) and the House of York during the War of the Roses, which also introduced three kings. This war was finished by the Tudors’ Dynasty, whose name was glorified by three kings and two queens: Henry VII (1485-1509), Henry VIII (1509-47), Edward VI (1547-53), Bloody Mary (1553-58) and Elizabeth (1558-1603). The representatives of this dynasty highly raised the prestige of royal power in England. In the period of 1603-1649 two kings of the Stuart Dynasty preserved the rule in England.

But in 1642 the bourgeois revolution has occurred, after which the country became a republic. Only in 1659 the Lord Protector, Richard Cromwell, decides to give up power in favor of the monarchy, which led to the restoration of the Stuart dynasty, and their rule lasted until 1714. Since this year up to 1901 the House of Hannover, introduced by five Kings and the sixth Queen Victoria, took the rule over England and the United Kingdom in whole. The 64-year monarchy of Queen Victoria is usually called the Victorian era, which is famous for economic prosperity, cultural breakthrough and social peace.

Since 1901 the current House of Windsor has been maintaining the throne of the country as the cadet branch of ancient Saxon House of Wettin. It is appropriate to note that until 1917 it was named after the surname of Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, but this year King George V decides to refuse from any German titles in the name of the House and the Dynasty was called after Windsor Castle.

Before the current monarch of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II, the country was ruled by her father King George VI, who obtained English crown after his elder brother Edward VIII gave up the throne for marrying American twice-divorced Wallis Simpson. In the history of England, George VI became the symbol of struggle with German expansion during World War II, whose royal duties were transferred to his oldest daughter Elizabeth on February 6th 1952 after his death.

In 2012 the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s rule was characterized by multiple shifts in Prime-Minister’s seat (two of the government’s leaders, Tony Blair and David Cameron), the crisis of British Empire, disappointment and several divorces within the royal family (including the world-known scandal about the relationship of Prince Charles and Princess Diana), losses of family members, etc. The Quee plays a crucial role in the cultural and social life of the whole country, as far as her presence in political decisions is not “welcomed” by Constitution of the United Kingdom. Among her achievements :

  • During her rule Elizabeth II accomplished 256 official visits into 129 countries.
  • The Queen and her husband Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, established the tradition of small visits and meetings with famous people of various professions.
  • Every year the Queen sends Christmas trees to Westminster Abbey, Wellington Barracks, ST. Paul’s Cathedral, the churches of St. Giles and Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh.
  • Every year of her reign, the Queen opened the regular session of Parliament, except of 1959 and 1963, when her sons were born - Prince Andrew and Prince Edward respectively.
  • During her rule Elizabeth II has opened 15 bridges in the United Kingdom as well as heaved off 23 ships.

Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, have four children, who always were and continue to be subjects of heavy press coverage.

Charles, Prince of Wales (born in November 14th 1948), is the eldest son and direct heir of British throne. He is famous for various charity activities, which involve patronage of art, medicine and ecology development in more than 400 organizations.

The Princess Anne (born in August 15th 1950) is also engaged in charity in the field of children care. She is also a fan of horse riding, which encloses the second side of charity work: helping children to overcome their diseases with the help of equestrian sport.

Prince Andrew Duke of York (born in February 19th 1960) has chosen the military carrier and served 22 years in Royal Air Force.  His personal interests include the support of sports’ development and raising its popularity among young people.

The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (born in March 10th 1964) takes part in multiple organizations as a patron of arts and sports developments He is also involved in awarding talented young people with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Scholarship, founded by his father Prince Phillip.