Who are the members of the British royal family and why are they so significant?

The British royals have long fascinated people across the globe.
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Of the 26 monarchies around the world today, few have had as much impact as the British royal family.

From Queen Elizabeth II, the second longest-reigning monarch in history, right down to her 12 great-grandchildren, people around the globe can’t get enough of the British royals.

Whether it be Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s history-making “Megzit”, the birth of Prince George or the death of Prince Philip, the Windsors are never far from the headlines.

Keep reading to learn more about who makes up the British royal family and their working members.

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her platinum jubilee in 2022.

(Image: Getty)

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II, who celebrated her platinum jubilee this year, is the longest-serving monarch in the history of the British monarchy.

The Queen is the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, who went by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

In November 1947, the Queen married Philip Mountbatten, a former prince of Greece and Denmark. Their marriage was one for the ages, lasting an impressive 73 years until Philip’s death in April 2021, just two months shy of his 100th birthday.

The couple had four children together: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

Her Majesty’s health has been cause for concern of late, having been hospitalised in October 2021 and then testing positive for COVID-19 in February.

Though she has recovered from her recent bouts of ill health, the general public has speculated that this may be a sign that the monarch is slowing down and will soon further reduce her royal duties.

At 73, Charles is the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held the title since July 1958.

(Image: Getty)

Charles, Prince of Wales

The eldest son of the Queen and Prince Philip, Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir to the British throne.

At 73, Charles is the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held the title since July 1958.

In 1981, Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, and the pair went on to welcome two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. However in 1996, the couple divorced following highly-publicised affairs.

The following year, Diana tragically died in a car crash in Paris.

Nowadays, Charles is happily married to Camilla Parker Bowles, whom he wed in 2005.

Camilla still regularly attends royal engagements.

(Image: Getty)

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

The future queen consort, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall was married prior to tying the knot with Charles.

In 1973, Camilla wed British Army officer Andrew Parker Bowles, with whom she shares two children, however they divorced in 1995.

In the ’90s, Camilla’s relationship with Charles became highly publicised in the media and attracted worldwide scrutiny.

After their 2005 wedding, Clarence House became the official residence of both the Duchess and the Prince of Wales.

Nowadays, Camilla still regularly attends royal engagements and continues with her philanthropic efforts, making sizeable donations to many charities.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is second in line to the British throne.

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

Since his birth in 1982, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge has been second in line to the British throne.

In 2011, more than 300 million people around the globe watched on as William married Kate Middleton, who goes by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in Westminster Abbey.

The couple share three kids, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis of Cambridge.

Prince William works in support of the Queen through his charitable work, royal duties, and in carrying out engagements in the UK and official overseas royal tours.

Catherine met William at the University of St Andrews in Scotland in 2001.

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

Despite only becoming an official member of the royal family in 2011 following her wedding, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge was a permanent fixture in UK tabloids for most of her adulthood.

Catherine met William at the University of St Andrews in Scotland in 2001, and the two enjoyed a highly-publicised on-and-off romance in the years following.

Her first public appearance with Prince William following their October 2010 engagement was at a fundraising event organised by the Teenage Cancer Trust in December 2010.

Nowadays, Catherine is busy taking care of her and William’s three children, and continues to undertake royal duties and engagements in support of the Queen.

Prince Harry continues to command worldwide headlines.

(Image: Getty)

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

Arguably the most talked-about royal in recent years, Prince Harry continues to command worldwide headlines.

Harry, the younger brother of Prince William, shocked the world in 2016 when he and American actress Meghan Markle went public with their unexpected romance.

In January 2020, 18 months after tying the knot, the couple stepped down as senior members of the royal family and moved to the Duchess’s native USA.

Harry and Meghan share two children; Archie Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor.

Nowadays, Harry, Meghan and their kids live in Montecito, in Southern California, on a sprawling property they purchased in June 2020.

Anne has been Princess Royal since 1987.

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Anne, Princess Royal

17th in the line of succession to the British throne, Anne has been Princess Royal since 1987.

Princess Anne shares two children, Zara and Peter Phillips, with her ex-husband Captain Mark Phillips.

Within months of her divorce from Mark, in 1992, Anne married Commander Sir Timothy Laurence.

Having been considered the most hard-working member of the family for many years, the Princess Royal has performs official duties and royal engagements on behalf of her mother, the Queen.

The 72-year-old holds patronage in over 300 organisations, with her charitable endeavours even resulting in her nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, is 14th in line of succession to the British throne.

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Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

The youngest child of The Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, is 14th in line of succession to the British throne.

Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones, now Sophie, Countess of Wessex, in 1999. The couple share two children, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, who are 16th and 15th in line to the British throne.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex has two children.

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Sophie, Countess of Wessex

In 2002, three years after marrying Edward, Sophie closed her public relations business and began full-time work as a member of the royal family.

Since then, Sophie has had an eventful stint as a working royal, quickly becoming likeable for her down-to-earth nature, her low-key modesty and not to mention the casual feat of becoming one of the Queen’s rumoured favourites.

When it comes to her role models within the royal family, the Countess of Wessex says she looks up to her mother-in-law the Queen and before his death in 2021, her father-in-law Prince Philip.

Who are the 12 royal families in Europe?

The House of Saxe-Coburg and Gothas – Belgium (King Philippe)

The House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg – Denmark (Queen Margrethe II)

The House of Liechtenstein – Liechtenstein (Prince Hans-Adam II)

The House of Luxembourg-Nassau – Luxembourg – Grand Duke Henri

The House of Grimaldi – Monaco (Prince Albert II)

The House of Orange-Nassau – Netherlands (King Willem-Alexander)

The House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg – Norway – (King Harald V)

The House of Borbón-Anjou – Spain (King Felipe VI)

The House of Bernadotte – Sweden (King Carl XVI Gustaf)

The House of Windsor – United Kingdom (Queen Elizabeth II)

Who is next in line after the Queen?

When the queen dies, her firstborn, Charles, Prince of Wales, will rule, followed by his firstborn, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and then his firstborn, Prince George.

Will Kate Middleton be Queen?

The next royal family member who could become Queen of England is Princess Charlotte, Kate and William’s only daughter. In order for a monarch to reign as King or Queen they have to be born into the family, meaning Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Kate Middleton will never be Queen Regnant.

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