British Monarchy: Why is Prince Phillip not a king?
Elizabeth was HEIR to her father King George VI. Philip is simply a spouse of royal birth(the Danish prince is form the Royal House of Schlesweig-Holstein- Sonderburg-Glucksburg) who was not in direct line of succession to the throne. In the United Kingdom, the spouse of the reigning queen is called "Prince Consort."He is not called "King Consort" because the United Kingdom does not use that title. The reasoning is that the title of king assumes the monarch and this won't do because the monarch is a queen.And as long as there is a Queen Regent,no one can bear a title that is as high as her's;the title king is considered a higher title. William's wife will wear her husband's titles upon marriage.It doesn't matter if she was a born royal,a woman simply takes her husband's titles upon marriage. If William were to marry a princess,the chances are that she'd be foreign-born,like Philip,and would have to assume British titles. And yes,she becomes Queen when he becomes King.
When and how did the British monarchy start losing its power? How did the British monarch become the powerless figure head of the present day?
If memory serves from my schooldays in the UK during the 1970s, the monarchy's loss of power can be simplified (oversimplified?) into 5 events:Magna Carta 1215The monarchy basically started losing material power with King John of England signing the Magna Carta , which led to the rule of constitutional law in England. Translation: the beginning of the end of absolutism in royal rule in England. This was just 149 years after the Norman Conquest under William I.English Civil War 1642-51Commonwealth of England/The Protectorate 1651-60The monarchy continued to lose power by turns in the years since Magna Carta, culminating in the English Civil War. The Commonwealth of England (later, the Protectorate for the whole of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland) replaced the monarchy under Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland. (We can safely generalise Charles I was a British monarch, even though history books conventionally identify him as "of England.")The Restoration 1660With the end of the Commonwealth/Protectorate in 1658-60, the monarchy was restored under King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland. However, Parliament limited Charles II's royal prerogative powers on constitutional grounds that he had no right to arbitrarily suspend laws enacted by Parliament. Translation: further loss of royal power.The Glorious Revolution 1688King James II of England and Ireland (and as James VII of Scotland) was overthrown by Parliamentary forces in a joint operation with Dutch forces under William of Orange, who then became "King Billy": William III of England, Scotland and Ireland (in addition to being Stadtholder of various areas in the Dutch Republic). But during William III's reign (jointly with Mary II), there was resistance to his/their validity to the throne (which is too involved to explain here).United Kingdom 1707-1800 / 1801-1927 / 1921-todayThe most prominent political feature of the UK that diluted the power of the monarchy was the Reform Act 1832 refashioned the British electoral system and extended the franchise. Translation: more power to the people and parliament.There are other important events in between those above, of course, but those are the ones most UK-educated people tend to remember at any given moment.
At what time did the British monarch become a figurehead?
There have been a series of changes. The big change was actually before George III; it was William and Mary who came to power as a result of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and became the first properly constitutional monarchs, doing away with divine right and agreeing a Bill of Rights. However, they still had significant power, and subsequent monarchs had different performances depending on their own presumptions of power versus those of Parliament and a changing society. Arguably George III & IV were a step back, as they presumed more power than they actually had and caused all sorts of problems by interfering in politics. They presided over a difficult period that saw large social changes as a result of growing trade and bourgeois values. The days of the country being split between poor peasants and a small powerful elite were becoming a thing of the past, but these monarchs tried to behave as if it were not so. It was really Queen Victoria that rebalanced things. She was from a very different background to the drinking, gambling, profligate lifestyle of her predecessor, and had a strong sense of duty to the nation. She became a strong role model for stability, moderation and family values. As social change continued through her reign, the monarchy and government reached their own levels of balance, with conventions (not legal restrictions) on duties and limits of the monarch's powers becoming well established. While these conventions are not legally binding, they have had far more continuity than many laws. Victoria's reign is regarded as a bit of a heyday. It is this sense of duty and convention that has continued to today, where the present Queen Elizabeth II is symbolic and ceremonial leader, chief diplomat and constitutional backstop, while it is Parliament that exercises executive power. Legally the monarch could still command and impose all sorts of things, but doing so is unthinkable in the present day. Any abuse of such power would cause public uproar and likely end the monarchy. The old legal powers are still there, and if Britain ever had a situation like 1930s Germany with a nasty bunch coming to power in Parliament, the monarch would be in a strong legal position to stop it. Hence the role of constitutional backstop.
Why does the United States support a monarchy?
Actually, this part is directed at Brian, England is a constitutional monarchy. As for the answer to this question our declaring independence had less to do with tyranny and mostly was triggered by the financial costs of the Anglo-French wars of the previous thirty years. As for why we would be allies of countries with monarchies it was our foreign policy for decades upon decades because of policies our first president set with his administration as evident by this part of his Farewell Address : "The great rule for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible" Obviously over the last fifty to sixty years we have followed that advice less and less but I'm pretty sure that it is the single biggest reason we have such a strong alliance with England.
Is monarchy a good system of government? Why, or why not?
Monarchy doesn’t have to have the hereditary element. There have been elective monarchies in the past where you choose your king-for-life and when he dies elect someone else for the job.The attraction of the hereditary monarchy is that there isn’t that awkward moment when you have the handover of power and the worry that someone will attempt a coup. The disadvantage of the hereditary monarchy is that you quite often get a lack-wit.The monarchy puts one person in charge so you don’t get any internal conflict in the government… But you only get one person’s point of view which is fine if we were ensured a competent monarch but mankind has yet to devise a wisdom detecting device.A monarchy is an improvement over anarchy and over warlordism. Compared with most other governmental forms (even oligarchy) it is inferior. Oh, it’s probably better than theocracy too but that’s not saying much.
Are the current British Monarchs directly related to the Lancaster Dynasty (and earlier dynasties)?
Thanks for the A2A! I’m quite a fan of British history, but the minutia of the monarchy is a little much for me to keep track of. I’ll try my best to fill it out!To give you a short and sweet answer: Yes. The modern British Monarchy, for all our bellyaching about them being German, boast a link to William the Conqueror. (Or William the Bastard, if you happen to be currently residing in Normandy. No, I will not try to translate that to Medieval French), and just about every other monarch in English/Scottish history.However, in the direct case of the Lancaster Dynasty, it’s a wee bit finicky. During this period, the descendants that Queen Elizabeth 2 comes from are actually Elizabeth of York’s daughters, who were princesses that went off and were not terribly involved in that periods monarchy, and more importantly, only one generation Lancastrian. Therefore although she does boast a blood link to the Lancasters, she does not boast a very strong one.Henry the 7th is her 13th Grandfather, if you want something directly citeable.It’s a little bit shocking to think about, that Queen Elizabeth the Second’s great x22 grandfather:(This lady, right here!)Was this fellow, and we know that. I don’t even know who my great-great-grandfather is.