Britain Britain's royal family coat of arms

The British royal family

From left: Prince William, The Duchess of Cornwall, Ellen Mountbatten, Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II, The Countess of Wessex, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, Princess Anne and Tim Laurence

Despite its ups and downs, the Royal Family has survived the installation of a Republic - from 1649-1660 - and retained a prominent place in British society.

The House of Windsor, formerly Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, succeeded the House of Hanover on the death of its last monarch, Queen Victoria. The original dynastic name of Victoria's German-born husband, Albert, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was changed to Windsor during the anti-German atmosphere of World War I by their grandson King George V.

The current head of the house, Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended to the throne in 1952, is married to Prince Philip, the Duke Of Edinburgh. Their son and heir, Prince Charles, has two sons - Prince William and Prince Harry - whose mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car crash in 1997. When the Prince of Wales remarried, in 2005, to his longtime companion Camilla Parker-Bowles, their union met with a mixed response. Public feeling for the new Duchess of Cornwall has since warmed, however.

The official royal website can be found at www.royal.gov.uk