A symbol of Britishness
of the monarch of the United Kingdom are known by the
appellation The Royal Family. Although there is no
strict legal or formal definition of who is or is not a member of the
Family, and different lists will include different people, those
carrying the style His
or Her Majesty (HM) or His or Her
Highness (HRH) are generally considered members, which usually
the application of the term to these persons:
- the monarch (the king or queen);
- the consort
of the monarch (his or her spouse);
- the widowed consorts of previous
monarchs (Queen Mother or Queen Dowager);
- the children of the monarch;
- the grandchildren of the
- the spouses and the widowed
spouses of a monarch's son and male-line grandsons; and
- before 1917,
great-grandchildren in the male line.
Many millions of
people are related to the British Royal Family more distantly than this
virtue of a Royal Descent.
British Royal Family are members of the House
London is a royal city and has preserved its ceremonies and
traditions over hundreds of years. Some are every day and some are
The most traditional ceremonies and most popular attractions are the Trooping
of the Colour
and the Changing of the Guard.
Searching the Houses of Parliament.
every State Opening of Parliament, the Yeomen
the Guard search the cellars beneath
of Westminster by
the light of old
candle-lanterns. This precaution has been undertaken every year since
when the "Gunpowder Conspirators" attempted to blow up parliament on the day of
The State Opening of Parliament.
back to Medieval London, this ceremony marks the beginning of the new
parliamentary year and features peers and bishops in traditional robes
royal procession involving the State Coach. State openings
usually take place in November, or soon after a General Election.
the day of the Opening, the Queen travels from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament in the Stage Coach
carriage). Once the Queen arrives at Parliament the union flag is
replaced by the royal standard.
wearing her crown and ceremonial robes then processes through the Royal
to take her place on the throne in the House of Lords, from where she
messenger (Black Rod) to summon the MPs. When he arrives at the House
Commons, the door is slammed in his face, symbolizing the right of the
to freedom from interference. He must then knock three times to gain
deliver his summons.
The Queen sits
on a throne in the House of Lords and reads the "Queen's Speech".
It is tradition for the
monarch to open parliament in person, and The Queen has performed the
in every year of her reign except for 1959 and 1963, when she was
princes Andrew and Edward respectively.
No King or Queen
has entered the House of Commons
1642, when Charles l stormed in with his soldiers and tried to arrest
members of Parliament who were there.
Ceremony of the Keys.
of London’s most timeless ceremonies,
back 700 years is the ceremony of the keys which takes place at the Tower of London.
At 21:53 each night the Chief Yeoman Warder of the Tower, dressed in
uniform, sets off to meet the Escort of the Key dressed in the well-known
uniform. Together they tour the various gates ceremonially locking
returning to the Bloody
Tower archway they
challenged by a sentry.
"Who goes there?"
answers The Chief Warder
"Whose Keys?" the
"Pass Queen Elizabeth's
Keys. All's well."
trumpeter then sounds the Last Post before the keys are secured in the
Changing of the Guard.
Outside Buckingham Palace, you
dressed in their bright red uniforms and bearskin hats. the place of
"old guard". This is known as the Changing of the Guards ceremony and
it dates back to 1660.
The monarch and the royal palaces have been guarded by
Household Troops since 1660.
Maundy Thursday is the day before
Friday, at Easter. On that day the Queen gives Maundy money to a group
people. This tradition is over 1,000 years old. At one time the king or
washed the feet of poor, old people on Maundy Thursday, but that
On the River
Thames there are hundred´s of swans and a lot of these beautiful white
belong, traditionally, to the king of queen. In July, the Queen´s swan
sails up the River Thames, from London
Bridge to Henley.
He looks at all the young swans and marks the royal ones.
The Queen's Telegram
This fairly new
custom assures aspiring centenarians that they will receive a birthday
from the queen on their one-hundredth birthday.On his or her one
birthday, a British person gets a telegram from the Queen.
The Birthday Honours list and the New Year
Twice a year at Buckingham Palace,
the Queen gives titles or
'honours', once in January and once in June.
Honours received include:
C.B.E. - Companion
of the British Empire
- Order of
the British Empire
M.B.E. - Member of the British
began in the nineteenth century, because then Britain
had an empire.
Knighthood - a knight has
"Sir" before his name. A new knight kneels in front of the Queen. She
touches first his right shoulder, then his left shoulder with a sword.
says "Arise, Sir...and his first name, and the knight stands.
Peerage - a peer is a lord.
Peers sit in the House of Lords, which is one part of the Houses of
The other part is the House of Commons.
Dame/Baroness - these are two of
the highest honours for a woman.
& Royal ceremonies
The coronation of
the new monarch follows the accession after an appropriate interval.
mourning of the sovereign at the time must be respectfully acknowledged
the heir can be newly anointed. The ceremony has remained the same for
thousand years! For the past 900, the ceremony has taken place at
Abbey, the site for many royal occasions. The service takes place in
presence of representatives of the Houses of Parliament, Church and
is conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has performed this
1066. Prime ministers, leading citizens from the Commonwealth, and
from other countries also attend.
coronation is an occasion for grand pageantry and celebration for the United Kingdom,
but it is a sacred and religious ceremony. The Sovereign takes the
oath; to rule according to law, to exercise justice with mercy -
symbolised by the four swords in the coronation regalia (Crown Jewels)
- and to
maintain the Church of England.
The Sovereign is
then seated in King Edward's chair, anointed, blessed and consecrated
Archbishop. King Edward's chair was made in 1300, and used by every
since 1626. After receiving the orb and sceptres, the Archbishop places
Edward's Crown on the Sovereign's head. After homage is paid by the
of Canterbury and senior peers, Holy Communion is celebrated.
The Queen will
be suceeded by her
Charles, The Prince of Wales, upon her death. He will be known as King
III (unless he chooses a different name), and his son William will be
public reactions that followed the death of Diana, Princess of Wales,
31, 1997, and that of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on March 30,
illustrate the longstanding tendency of prominent British royal deaths
an emotional response from millions who had never personally been
with the deceased. Royal deaths have also evoked important forms of
symbolic commemoration that are significant both in the context of the
of British civil religion and national identity, and in shaping and
representing wider social and cultural responses to death. Despite
subversive undertones, the expression of such collective grief usually
a potent legitimation of the institution of the monarchy and the
social and political order.
responsibility for the funerals of sovereigns rests with the Earl
office of state held on a hereditary basis by the dukes of Norfolk,
who are assisted by the heralds of the College of Arms.
The funerals of other members of the royal family are organized by Lord
Chamberlain's office, which is part of the permanent royal secretariat.
Numerous other agencies are involved in more complex and large-scale
These have included the Office of Works (for temporary additions to
the church, the armed services, the police, and the railways.
the beginning of the nineteenth century royal funerals were usually
held in London
with interments in
Westminster Abbey. George III, however, moved the royal burial place to
St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle,
thus focusing ceremonially on what was then a relatively small country
several hours journey from the capital in pre-railway days. Scope for
participation was therefore limited. Only following the death of Queen Victoria was
decisive move back to a more public and large-scale ceremonial. Her
which included a spectacular naval review and a military procession
represented a return to a "theatre of death" on a scale not seen
since the early seventeenth century. The trend was confirmed upon the
her son Edward VII when a further ritual of a public lying-in-state in
Westminster Hall was added and proved enormously popular.
royal funerals, especially those of sovereigns, were made up of a
ceremonies extending over several days, public and private, religious
secular, and presenting different aspects of the deceased. For example,
VII's body initially lay privately in his bedroom at Buckingham Palace,
being moved ceremonially to the Throne Room, and then in a street
Westminster Hall. After the three days of the public lying-in-state,
a further street procession to Paddington Station, a train journey to
a procession from the station to the Castle, and a culminating
service in St. George's Chapel.
funerals—unlike coronations, jubilees, and weddings—need to be arranged
timescale measured in days rather than months. Although
some discreet advance planning can be made, the exact
circumstances of a death are unforseeable and, in particular, the
death of a relatively young person, as in the case of Princess Diana,
to catch the authorities almost wholly unprepared.
the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the days of royal funerals
increasingly marked by parallel processions and church services in
towns and cities. By this means many people remote from London
able to achieve a sense of participation in a national ritual.
grief was expressed by the wearing of mourning clothes and emblems such
black armbands. In this period instructions for the general wearing of
for periods of several weeks drew general compliance, giving a somber
atmosphere to the streets. From the mid–twentieth century onward, the
radio and, eventually, television intensified this sense of involvement
shifting it from the communal public religiosity of streets and places
worship to the individualistic and domestic environment of people's
and television have increased consciousness of royal funerals as mass
spectacles, as manifested in the unprecedented size of the worldwide
audience that watched Princess Diana's funeral.
Since the death of Queen Victoria, ceremonial or state
processions have been carried out on the death of a British Monarch, a
member of the British Royal Family or, in some cases, a highly regarded
statesman or woman. These are probably the most powerful and
ceremonies of state which take place in Britain. State funerals are
normally reserved for the death of the reigning Monarch or can be
the Monarch to others.
coffin is carried on a gun carriage, escorted in a long procession by
of all the armed forces and by members of the Royal Family, to
where the body lies in state, allowing ordinary people to pay their
respects by filing past the coffin.
practice of allowing the body to lie-in-state goes a very long way back
history. The people who surrounded the body, be they soldiers or
the deceased sovereign, were essentially representing the feelings of
people and ordinary people were therefore allowed to see the body
lying-in-state in order to bond the people and the Nation together.
processional ceremony,however, is relatively recent in origin,
with the death of Queen Victoria
in 1901 and continuing with the funeral of Edward VII.
the modern procession the gun carriage is formed from a detachment from
Kings Troop, Royal Horse Artillery. However, during a state funeral,
carriage would be drawn by members of the Royal Navy rather than
The Bearer Party carry the coffin towards the gun
before the procession begins and carefully place it on the prepared
Garrison Sergeant Major first gives the order to the procession to
and then to slow march and
the procession moves off to the beat of the muffled drums of the bands
play funereal music. The gun carriage is followed by members of the
Family, walking behind, along with other dignitaries and members of the
the procession, guns are fired from Hyde Park
at one minute intervals. The
funeral procession, which is usually more than half a mile long,
its way towards Westminster.
funeral procession passes through the Horse Guards Arch, which was once
main gateway to Buckingham Palace, before turning right onto Whitehall and
proceeds along Whitehall
towards Westminster Hall. On arrival, the Bearer Party remove the
the gun carriage and carry it into the ancient Hall where
The coffin is borne to the centre of
Westminster Hall and placed upon the catafalque where it will remain
three days of the lying-in-state. A short receiving service takes place
is led by the Archbishop of Canterbury attended by dignitaries and
the Royal Family.
As the final prayer ends, the first vigil
begins. In a tribute evocative of Arthurian legend, four officers march
the steps of the Hall, past the heraldic beasts, across the stone floor
mount the catafalque, one at each corner of the coffin. The coffin is
in this way, during the lying-in-state, by officers from
Household Division, The Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard,
Majesty's Bodyguard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms and
Company of Archers in turn and turn about.
reverse their ceremonial weapons, resting their hands upon the hilts
their heads. Each unit mounts guard for six hours at a time with the
being changed at twenty minute intervals.
body normally lies-in-state for three days in order to allow time for
ordinary people to file past and pay their last respects.