75 What powers does the Queen have?
The Crown, which represents both the Sovereign (the person on whom the Crown is constitutionally conferred) and the Government, is the symbol of supreme executive power. The Crown is vested in the Queen, but in general its functions are exercised by Ministers responsible to Parliament and thus Britain is governed by Her Majesty’s Government in the name of the Queen. However, the Queen’s involvement is still required in many important acts of government.
The Queen was actually born on 21 April, but it has long been customary to celebrate the Sovereign’s birthday on a day during the summer. Since 1805 the Sovereign’s ‘official’ birthday has been marked by the Trooping the Colour ceremony, normally held on the second Saturday in June.
Line of Succession
The Heir Apparent has, since the institution of the title by King Edward I in 1301, usually been ‘created’ Prince of Wales. Edward I led the conquest of independent Wales between 1277 and 1283. He subsequently proclaimed his son, Edward, born at Caernarfon in Wales in 1284, the Prince of Wales. There is no succession to the title, which is only renewed at the Sovereign’s pleasure. The present Prince of Wales is the 21st in line - counting several who were never formally invested! Prince Charles was created Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle on July 1st 1969.
The use of the word ‘Royal’ in connection with a society, borough or organisation indicates that they were founded or established by, or are under the patronage of, a Sovereign or royal person.
Since the Middle Ages, tradespeople who have acted as suppliers of goods and services to the Sovereign have received the honour of formal recognition. In the beginning this patronage took the form of royal charters given collectively to various trade guilds; later the relationship between the Crown and individual tradespeople was formalised by the issue of royal warrants.
The British national anthem originated in a patriotic song first performed in 1745. There is no authorised version - the words used are a matter of tradition. On official occasions it is usual to sing the first verse only, the words of which are as follows:
‘Dieu et mon droit’ (French for ‘God and my right’) is the motto of the Sovereign. The words were the countersign (military password) chosen by King Richard I before the battle of Gisors in 1198, meaning that he was no vassal of France, but owed his royalty to God alone. The French were defeated in battle, but the password was not adopted as the royal motto of England until the time of Henry VI and has since been retained by his successors. The motto appears below the shield on the Royal Coat of Arms.
The Royal crest - a lion bearing the Royal crown - is used as a device to denote articles of personal property belonging to the Queen, or to denote goods bearing the Royal Warrant. The crest is taken from the Royal Coat of Arms, where it is placed above the shield and helmet.
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