The British Royal Family is the family group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom.
The Queen is Head of State in the United Kingdom. As a constitutional monarch, Her Majesty does not 'rule' the country, but fulfils important ceremonial and formal roles with respect to Government. She is also Fount of Justice, Head of the Armed Forces and has important relationships with the established Churches of England and Scotland.
Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary) was born on 21 April, 1926 at 17 Bruton Street, London. Her birthday is officially celebrated in Britain on the second Saturday of June each year. The day is referred to as “the Trooping of the Colour”, the official name is “the Queen’s Birthday Parade”.
The Official Title of the Queen
Her Majesty The Queen's title in the United Kingdom is:
'Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'.
The British Royal Family's surname is Windsor. They changed their name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor in 1917.
Why did they change their name?
World War I broke out in 1914 and anti-German sentiment was at its height in 1917. In protest, King George V renounced all the German titles belonging to him and his family and adopted the name of his castle, Windsor.
The Queen's Role
Head of State
As Head of State, the Queen goes on official State visits abroad. She also invites other world leaders to come to the United Kingdom. During their visit, Heads of State usually stay at Buckingham Palace, or sometimes at Windsor Castle or Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
Head of the Armed Forces
The Queen is also the Head of the Armed Forces. She is the only person who can declare when the country is at war and when war is over, although she must take advice from her government first.
Head of the Church of England
The Queen is Head of the Church of England - a position that all British monarchs have held since it was founded by Henry VIII in the 1530s.
The spiritual leader of the Church of England is the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Every day 'red boxes' are delivered to the Queen's desk full of documents and reports from the government ministers and Commonwealth officials. They must all be read and, if necessary, signed by the Queen.