Windsor Royal Family : everything you need to know
The British Royal Family has always been in the public eye. They are a symbol of the United Kingdom and have been through a lot of turmoil. Do you know who they are? Do you know their history?
The Windsor Royal Family, who are they?
The royal family comes from the Germanic dynasty Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. During the First World War, as the Germans did not have a good reputation in the United Kingdom, King George V insisted on changing his name to Windsor.
Here are the main personalities of the royal family:
The King and Queen
- King Charles III, who recently became King following the death of Queen Elizabeth II;
- The Queen Consort Camilla Shand.
The King's brothers and sisters and their spouses
- The Princess Royal, Princess Anne;
- The Duke of York, Prince Andrew;
- The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Edward;
- The Duchess of Edinburgh, Sophie of Wessex.
The King's children and their spouses
- The Prince of Wales, Prince William;
- The Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton;
- The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry;
- The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.
The first cousins of the late Queen Elizabeth
- The Duke of Gloucester, Prince Richard;
- The Duchess of Gloucester, Brigitte van Deurs;
- The Duke of Kent, Prince Edward;
- Princess Alexandra of Kent.
What are the roles of the Royal Family?
The King exercises his duties as monarch and head of state over the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, but also over other Commonwealth kingdoms such as Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
The role of the Royal Family is to support the King in his duties, to represent the UK and to promote the country's interests abroad. This often involves visiting community initiatives, meeting with heads of state, and making presentations at various events and ceremonies.
They are also expected to engage in social causes and charitable organisations. In total, there are 3,000 organisations headed by members of the Royal Family. The themes are multiple: education, environment or health, the royal family wants to be close to the problems of the population.
They also play an important role in supporting the army and regularly visit the soldiers.
Where does the royal family live?
There are many royal residences owned by the Windsors, such as Clarence House, St James' Palace, Palace of Holyroodhouse and Kensington Palace. Here we will introduce the two main ones: Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
Buckingham Palace, located in London, has been the official residence of the Royal Family since 1837. King George III bought it in 1761 to make it a comfortable residence, then George IV transformed the place into a palace. The place is huge: there are no less than 775 rooms!
The place hosts many official events, such as royal ceremonies, state banquets, meals and garden parties. For example, there was a concert in the garden for Queen Elizabeth II's Paltinum Jubilee in 2022.
How to talk about Buckingham Palace without mentioning the balcony? This mythical balcony, known throughout the world, has become a symbolic place since Queen Victoria's first appearance in 1851. The royal family makes appearances here for important events, such as royal weddings, anniversaries and national events.
It is possible to visit Buckingham Palace in the summer and there are guided tours in the winter. However, places are limited!
How to get there?
Yellow Route: hop off at stop 11 Buckingham Palace.
Blue Royal Route: hop off at stop 17 Buckingham Palace Gate.
Built by William the Conqueror in the 1070s, Windsor Castle has been designated as the royal residence for over 900 years. It is the largest inhabited castle in the world!
The castle is used as a private residence and as an official royal residence for official duties. Various receptions are held here, including for foreign heads of state.
It contains many important items for the royal family, such as the archives and the royal collection, which includes thousands of paintings, gravures, furniture, tapestries and other works.
The castle is open to visitors. You can explore the State Apartments, St George's Chapel and Queen Mary's famous doll's house.
What events have marked the Royal Family?
For a quick recap of important events in the history of the Royal Family, we have to go back to 1947, when Elizabeth II, the eldest daughter of King George VI and Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, got married.
Elizabeth was crowned six years later, in 1953. Thanks to the arrival of television in the home, this event could be watched by millions of people.
In 1981, a great event took place: the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. It was the most covered royal wedding ever. However, this union was affected by many rumours.
In 1997, Princess Diana passed away as a result of a car accident. This sudden event plunged the UK into mourning.
A few years later, in 2005, Prince Charles and Camilla Shand, his first love, finally said "I do" at Windsor Town Hall.
Another legendary wedding was the one of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011. This event was of great importance due to its worldwide media coverage.
The latest wedding, between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, took place in 2018.
Finally, Queen Elizabeth II passed away in 2022 after 70 years of reign, leaving behind a mourning population. Charles III, son of Elizabeth II, will take the crown. The coronation ceremony will take place on Saturday 6 May 2023.
What events does the British Royal Family attend?
There are many events involving the Royal Family that are an important part of UK culture and tradition.
Trooping the Colour
Every year in June at Horse Guards Parade, a military parade is held. It is organised to celebrate the birthday of the British monarch.
The Royal Family attend the annual Christmas Mass at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk.
The State Ball
A ball is held every year at Buckingham Palace. It is attended by many political figures.
Every year, a commemoration ceremony, in which the Royal Family participates, is organised in memory of the British soldiers who died during the fighting.
There are also other notable events, such as royal weddings, funerals and royal jubilees.
Want to continue your royal immersion in London? Hop on the Royal Blue Route or visit the Tootbus app to discover the Tootwalk feature. Explore Kensington Gardens or go on a royal shopping trip to St James's with our guided walking tours!