Glossary of Royals & Terms

For the uninitiated, below are a list of terms and titles that you may see in the news (and will certainly see here!) with a quick explanation. If you ever run across a person or term either here or in other reading that you have a question about, let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

People

The Queen (Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth, HM) – The current monarch who has been on the throne since February 1952. When we refer to communication from Buckingham Palace, we are referring to the Queen’s office/staff. She splits her time between Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, with Christmas spent at Sandringham and the summer spent at Balmoral.

The Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip, Philip Mountbatten) – The Queen’s husband since 1947. He was born in Greece in 1921, but spent most of his childhood in the UK. His heritage is primarily German, Danish, and English, despite being “Prince Philip of Greece & Denmark” prior to his marriage. He retired from royal duties in 2017 and now spends most of his time in Norfolk.

The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) – The Queen’s eldest son and child, first in line for the throne. Charles has the unique distinction of being the longest-serving PoW in history. He lives primarily at Clarence House in London, and his household is described as such. He also maintains a country home, Highgrove, in Gloucestershire. He is currently married to the Duchess of Cornwall, however his two sons are from his first marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales (nee Spencer).

The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) – The Queen’s eldest daughter and second child. Her title, “Princess Royal,” is the traditional title granted to the monarch’s eldest daughter, dating back to the reign of Charles I in the 17th century. She lives primarily at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, while maintaining apartments at St James’s Palace in London. She is an actively working royal on behalf of her mother. Her office falls under the umbrella of Buckingham Palace. She is currently fourteenth in line for the throne.

The Duke of York (Prince Andrew) – The Queen’s second son and third child. Andrew was a full-time working royal on behalf of his mother, but was forced to step down in November 2019. He divides his time between the Royal Lodge on the Windsor estate and apartments within Buckingham Palace. He is currently eighth in line for the throne.

The Earl of Wessex (Prince Edward) – The Queen’s third son and fourth child. Edward is currently a full-time working royal on behalf of his mother. He lives at Bagshot Park, south of Windsor. The Queen has stated he will inherit the Duke of Edinburgh’s title when his father passes away. His office falls under the umbrella of Buckingham Palace. He is currently eleventh in line for the throne.

The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla, Camilla Parker-Bowles) – The Prince of Wales’s second wife since 2005. Prior to marrying Charles, she was married to Andrew Parker-Bowles with whom she has two children – Tom Parker-Bowles and Laura Lopes. She lives with her husband at Clarence House the majority of the time and is a full-time working member of the Royal Family on her mother-in-law’s behalf. It is unclear if she will be crowned queen consort when her husband ascends the throne due to their divorces.

Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence (Timothy Laurence) – Princess Anne’s second husband since 1992. He maintained a long-time naval career until retiring in 2010. He regularly joins his wife on engagements and overseas tours, as well as working with a handful of service-oriented and historical organizations.

Sarah, Duchess of York (Sarah Ferguson, Fergie) – The Duke of York’s ex-wife. She is the mother of his two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. She occasionally resides with Andrew at The Royal Lodge despite their divorce.

The Countess of Wessex (Sophie) – The Earl of Wessex’s wife since 1999. She lives with her husband and their two children at Bagshot Park. She is a full-time working royal on her mother-in-law’s behalf.

The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William) – The Prince of Wales’s eldest son. He divides his time between Kensington Palace in London and Anmer Hall in Norfolk, while his household is referred to as Kensington Palace. He is a full-time working royal on behalf of his grandmother. He is currently second in line for the throne.

The Duke of Sussex (Prince Harry) – The Prince of Wales’s younger son. He lives primarily at Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor estate, while his office falls under the umbrella of Buckingham Palace. He is a full-time working royal on behalf of his grandmother. He is currently sixth in line for the throne.

Peter Phillips – The Princess Royal’s eldest child and only son. He is not a working royal, but will occasionally join public events alongside the Royal Family. He currently lives in London with his wife and two daughters. He is currently fifteenth in line for the throne.

Zara Tindall (Zara Phillips) – The Princess Royal’s younger child and only daughter. She is not a working royal, but will occasionally join public events alongside the Royal Family. She currently lives on the Gatcombe Park estate in Gloucestershire with her husband and two daughters. He is currently eighteenth in line for the throne.

Princess Beatrice (Beatrice of York) – The Duke of York’s eldest child and daughter. She is not a working royal, however she supports various charities and appears at certain public events alongside members of the Royal Family. She splits her time between London and New York City.

Princess Eugenie (Eugenie of York) – The Duke of York’s second child and younger daughter. She is not a working royal, however she supports various charities and appears at certain public events alongside members of the Royal Family. She lives in Ivy Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace with her husband.

Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor (Louise of Wessex) – The Earl of Wessex’s eldest child and only daughter. At 16 years of age, she is not a working royal, nor is she expected to become one when she’s of age. She lives with her parents at Bagshot Park. She is currently thirteenth in line for the throne.

The Viscount Severn (James of Wessex) – The Earl of Wessex’s younger child and only son. At age 12, he is not a working royal, nor is he expected to become one when he’s of age. It is anticipated that he will eventually inherit the title, “Duke of Edinburgh,” after the deaths of his grandfather and father. He lives with his parents at Bagshot Park. He is currently twelfth in line for the throne.

The Duchess of Cambridge (Kate/Catherine Middleton) – The Duke of Cambridge’s wife since 2011. She is a full-time working royal on behalf of her grandmother-in-law, and lives with her husband at Kensington Palace and Anmer Hall. Upon her husband’s accession, it is anticipated she will be crowned queen consort.

The Duchess of Sussex (Meghan Markle) – The Duke of Sussex’s wife since 2018. She is a full-time working royal on behalf of her grandmother-in-law, and lives with her husband at Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor estate.

Autumn Phillips (Autumn Kelly) – Peter Phillips’s wife since 2008, and the mother of his two daughters. She is Canadian and converted from Roman Catholicism before her marriage. She lives with her husband and children in London.

Mike Tindall – Zara Tindall’s husband since 2011, and the father of her two daughters. He lives with his wife and children on the Gatcombe Park estate.

Jack Brooksbank – Princess Eugenie’s husband since 2018. He lives with his wife at Ivy Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace.

Prince George (George of Cambridge) – The Duke of Cambridge’s eldest son and child. Age six, he isn’t a working royal, but it is expected he will become one at some point in adulthood. He currently lives at Kensington Palace and Anmer Hall with his parents. He is currently third in line for the throne, and it’s anticipated he will eventually become monarch after the deaths of his great-grandmother, grandfather, and father.

Princess Charlotte (Charlotte of Cambridge, Lottie) – The Duke of Cambridge’s eldest daughter and second child. Age four, she isn’t a working royal, and it’s unclear what role she will have once she’s of age. She lives with her parents at Kensington Palace and Anmer Hall. She is currently fourth in line for the throne.

Prince Louis (Louis of Cambridge) – The Duke of Cambridge’s younger son and third child. Age one, he isn’t a working royal, and it’s unclear what role he will have once he’s of age. He lives with his parents at Kensington Palace and Anmer Hall. He is currently fifth in line for the throne.

Archie Mountbatten-Windsor – The Duke of Sussex’s only son and child. An infant, he isn’t a working royal, and he isn’t expected to become one once he’s of age. While he is entitled to the style of “Lord Archie” as the son of a duke, and the honorary title of “Earl of Dumbarton,” his parents opted to keep him Master Archie for the time being in anticipation of life as a private citizen. He currently lives with his parents at Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor estate. He is seventh in line for the throne.

Places

Buckingham Palace (BP, The Palace) – The official residence of the monarch. The Queen lives here a portion of each week, and there is significant office space for staff, as well as smaller apartments for other members of the Royal Family. Public functions and events are hosted here, while the State Apartments are open for a few months in the summer. Communication from “The Palace” usually refers to BP, indicating it comes from the Queen’s office/staff. It’s possible subsequent monarchs will decline to live in BP, and instead use it only for events and office space.

St James’s Palace (SJP, The Palace) – The official base of Royal Court. Though the monarch no longer resides here, it is still the home of royals, including Princesses Anne and Eugenie. After his separation in 1992, the Prince of Wales lived at SJP as well. Communication from “The Palace” can also refer to SJP as it still houses major working space for staff.

Windsor Castle – Another residence of the monarch. The Queen spends most of her weekends at Windsor, as well as the Easter holiday. It is occasionally used for public functions and events. Portions of it are open to the public.

Sandringham House– Another residence of the monarch located in Norfolk. The Queen spends every Christmas at Sandringham, usually from about mid-December until early February. First occupied by Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales in the 1860s, it is considered one of the Queen’s private homes. Two previous monarchs – George V and George VI – died there. Wood Farm, a house on the estate, is now used by the Duke of Edinburgh as his primary residence. Anmer Hall, the Duke of Cambridge’s country home, is also on the estate.

Balmoral Castle – Another residence of the monarch located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The Queen spends every summer there, usually from July into October. It was first purchased by Queen Victoria in the 1840s, and is considered one of the monarch’s private homes. Birkhall, a house on the estate, was once used by the Queen’s mother, and is now used by the Prince of Wales when in Scotland.

Terms

Royal Court (Court) – Once upon a time it meant something a bit different, but today it means the official working space of the monarch. Ambassadors and high commissioners are received at court, formally based at St James’s Palace, however functions like receptions, banquets, and Privy Council meetings take place wherever the monarch is in residence.

Household – This refers to the office and staff of certain members of the Royal Family. Not all royals maintain their own independent households. Currently, there are three run belonging to the monarch, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke of Cambridge. Other royals’ households fall under the umbrella of the Queen’s, usually referred to as Buckingham Palace, though St James’s Palace is the official base of court.

Patronages – Working members of the Royal Family serve as patrons or “royal patrons” for a variety of domestic and international organizations, usually focused on community, service, and the public good. Long-time senior royals can patronize hundreds of organizations, however there’s been an effort by the younger generations to take on fewer so that they can be more active participants.

Engagements – This refers to the public appearances working royals make on behalf of the monarch or their patronages. A tally of engagements is usually seen as an indication of how much each royal is working, however these public events are only a portion of the work most royals are doing behind-the-scenes. Royal watchers enjoy these engagements as they provide an opportunity to see members of the RF, and they serve an important function in maintaining the RF’s visibility. They usually last a couple of hours and reporters from the “royal rota” are briefed and invited to cover them.

Foreign Tours (Tours, Visits) – This is pretty self-explanatory, but these are longer-term visits to countries outside of England, and usually outside of the UK. I would probably divvy these up into three separate categories – longer-term visits to UK countries like Wales, Scotland, or Ireland; longer-term visits to Commonwealth countries around the world; longer-term visits to non-Commonwealth countries around the world. Usually a tour is at least 4-5 days long, during which time the royal or royals carry out a series of engagements each day, however they can stretch towards three weeks depending on the location. Tours under four days are usually referred to as “visits” or “mini-tours.” A pack of reporters from the “royal rota” usually accompanies members of the BRF on these trips to ensure British coverage.

Away Days – This refers to an engagement or a full day of engagements taking place within the UK, but outside of London or the royals’ area of residency.

Line of Succession – This refers to the order of family members after the monarch who can inherit the throne. Anyone within the line of succession can inherit the throne based on right, however the further down the line they are, the less likely they are to do so. Practically speaking, the crown now passes from eldest child to eldest child – so, for example, from the Queen to Charles to William to George, and then someday to George’s eldest child. As such, non-first born children are subsequently displaced over time.