Few families are as interesting as the British Royal Family – a family that has the almost impossible task of maintaining tradition while also moving with the times.
During Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, there have been several prominent figures, all with uniquely interesting stories to tell! Here’s why you should learn more about each.
Queen Elizabeth II
Who better to start with than the reigning monarch herself? Queen Elizabeth II is not only the world’s oldest monarch, she’s also the UK’s longest-reigning king or queen.
Even before her coronation Elizabeth was devoted to her country. She helped with many royal duties, most notably serving as an honorary junior commander and training as both a driver and mechanic in 1945 with the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
Following her coronation in 1953, the Queen has had a huge influence on British history and culture. This has included overseeing many important changes such as the decolonization of the empire and evolving it into today’s commonwealth, as well as numerous public and private crises. To find out more about these life-changing events watch this Queen Elizabeth II documentary.
Recently lost to us, Prince Philip was a companion to Queen Elizabeth II from the beginning: they first met in 1934 and married in 1947.
While many are familiar with Prince Philip and his love for his wife it’s often forgotten that his relationship and engagement was controversial at the time. A Greek prince he had to renounce his former titles in order to allay any concerns. He also joined the Church of England for this very reason.
Yet his legacy lives on today. His position as a non-British-born subject paved the way for the modern understanding of what it means to be a prince.
The heir apparent, Prince Charles is the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. At 72 years old, he fulfills many duties in the Royal Family, most recently inheriting his father’s title as Duke of Edinburgh.
Prince Charles is a strong advocate for environmentalism, philanthropy, and charity work, and arguably the most active and public-facing of the entire Royal Family. However, his private life is often defined by his two marriages: his first to Princess Diana and later, more controversially, to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
The elder child of Prince Charles and second in line to the throne, Prince William along with his wife Catherine, are often in the media spotlight. An active public speaker, particularly in the area of charity and military support (having served in the RAF), Prince William undertakes many duties on behalf of the Queen.
However, both William and Harry have found living out life in the public eye difficult, especially following the death of their mother, Princess Diana.
Prince William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, has followed a very similar path. Both served in the RAF and both have undertaken many public duties from an early age. While only sixth in line to the throne, Prince Harry has nonetheless put a great emphasis on two key areas: mental health and charity.
One of his largest achievements is the founding of the Invictus Games in 2014. This event, which continues to take place semi-regularly, features various athletic events for injured servicemen and women.
Like many of the younger royals, Harry balances his own desires for privacy with the duties of using his status for the public good. While William focuses on his duties in the UK, Harry is arguably becoming more famous in the US.