Earl Marshal is a hereditary royal officeholder and chivalric title under the sovereign of the United Kingdom used in England. He is the eighth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Constable and above the Lord High Admiral; the marshal was responsible, along with the constable, for the monarch's horses and stables including connected military operations. As a result of the decline of chivalry and sociocultural change, the position of Earl Marshal has evolved and among his responsibilities today is the organisation of major ceremonial state occasions like the monarch's coronation in Westminster Abbey and state funerals, he is a leading officer of arms and oversees the College of Arms. The current Earl Marshal is Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk, who inherited the position in 2002. There was an Earl Marshal of Ireland and Earl Marischal of Scotland; the office of royal marshal existed in much of Europe, involving managing horses and protecting the monarch.
In England, the office became hereditary under John FitzGilbert the Marshal after The Anarchy, rose in prominence under his second son, William Marshal Earl of Pembroke. He served under several kings, acted as regent, organised funerals and the regency during Henry III's childhood. After passing through his daughter's husband to the Earls of Norfolk, the post evolved into "Earl Marshal" and the title remained unchanged after the earldom of Norfolk became a dukedom. In the Middle Ages, the Earl Marshal and the Lord High Constable were the officers of the king's horses and stables; when chivalry declined in importance, the constable's post declined and the Earl Marshal became the head of the College of Arms, the body concerned with all matters of genealogy and heraldry. In conjunction with the Lord High Constable, he had held a court, known as the Court of Chivalry, for the administration of justice in accordance with the law of arms, concerned with many subjects relating to military matters, such as ransom and soldiers' wages, including the misuse of armorial bearings.
In 1672, the office of Marshal of England and the title of Earl Marshal of England were made hereditary in the Howard family. In a declaration made on 16 June 1673 by Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, the Lord Privy Seal, in reference to a dispute over the exercise of authority over the Officers of Arms the powers of the Earl Marshal were stated as being "to have power to order and determine all matters touching arms, ensigns of nobility and chivalry. Additionally it was declared that no patents of arms or any ensigns of nobility should be granted, no augmentation, alteration, or addition should be made to arms, without the consent of the Earl Marshal; the Earl Marshal is considered the eighth of the Great Officers of State, with the Lord High Constable above him and only the Lord High Admiral beneath him. Nowadays, the Earl Marshal's role has to do with the organisation of major state ceremonies such as coronations and state funerals. Annually, the Earl Marshal helps organise the State Opening of Parliament.
The Earl Marshal remains to have charge over the College of Arms and no coat of arms may be granted without his warrant. As a symbol of his office, he carries a baton of gold with black finish at either end. In the general order of precedence, the Earl Marshal is the highest hereditary position in the United Kingdom outside the Royal Family. Although other state and ecclesiastical officers rank above in precedence, they are not hereditary; the exception is the office of Lord Great Chamberlain, notionally higher than Earl Marshal and hereditary, but as it is held by a marquess, is lower in the general order of precedence. The holding of the Earl Marshalship secures the Duke of Norfolk's traditional position as the "first peer" of the land, above all other dukes; the House of Lords Act 1999 removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, but the Act provided that the persons holding the office of Earl Marshal and, if a peer, the Lord Great Chamberlain continue for the time being to have seats so as to carry out their ceremonial functions in the House of Lords.
Among the men who have held the title of Earl Marshal of Ireland are: - William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke John Marshal William Marshal'who joined the Barons against King Henry III and d. 1264' John Marshal, son of the last-mentioned and father of the next-mentioned. William Marshal, 1st Baron Marshal John Marshal, 2nd Baron Marshal Robert de Morley, 2nd Baron Morley William de Morley, 3rd Baron Morley Thomas de Morley, 4th Baron Morley Thomas de Morley, 5th Baron Morley Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex. See A view of the legal institutions, honorary hereditary offices... Walter Lynch, 1830, P 71 Unpublished statute entered on the Chancery Roll, Dublin, in the year 1460, relative to the independence of Ireland Family Tree of the Marshal family, from J. H Round, "The king's serjeants & offic
House of Commons of the United Kingdom
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster; the full name of the house is the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House; the Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament. Members are elected to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved; the House of Commons of England started to evolve in 14th centuries. It became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, assumed the title of "House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland" after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century; the "United Kingdom" referred to was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800, became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Accordingly, the House of Commons assumed its current title. Under the Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject legislation was reduced to a delaying power; the Government is responsible to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister stays in office only as long as she or he retains the confidence of a majority of the Commons. Although it does not formally elect the prime minister, the position of the parties in the House of Commons is of overriding importance. By convention, the prime minister is answerable to, must maintain the support of, the House of Commons. Thus, whenever the office of prime minister falls vacant, the Sovereign appoints the person who has the support of the House, or, most to command the support of the House—normally the leader of the largest party in the Commons, while the leader of the second-largest party becomes the Leader of the Opposition. Since 1963, by convention, the prime minister is always a member of the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords.
The Commons may indicate its lack of support for the Government by rejecting a motion of confidence or by passing a motion of no confidence. Confidence and no confidence motions are phrased explicitly, for instance: "That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government." Many other motions were until recent decades considered confidence issues though not explicitly phrased as such: in particular, important bills that were part of the Government's agenda. The annual Budget is still considered a matter of confidence; when a Government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons, the prime minister is obliged either to resign, making way for another MP who can command confidence, or to request the monarch to dissolve Parliament, thereby precipitating a general election. Parliament sits for a maximum term of five years. Subject to that limit, the prime minister could choose the timing of the dissolution of parliament, with the permission of the Monarch. However, since the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, terms are now a fixed five years, an early general election is brought about by a two-thirds majority in favour of a motion for a dissolution, or by a vote of no confidence, not followed within fourteen days by a vote of confidence.
By this second mechanism, the UK's government can change its political composition without an intervening general election. Only four of the eight last Prime Ministers have attained office as the immediate result of a general election; the latter four were Jim Callaghan, John Major, Gordon Brown and the current Prime Minister Theresa May. In such circumstances there may not have been an internal party leadership election, as the new leader may be chosen by acclaim, having no electoral rival. A prime minister will resign after party defeat at an election if unable to lead a coalition, or obtain a confidence and supply arrangement, she or he may resign after a motion of no confidence or for health reasons. In such cases, the premiership goes to, it has become the practice to write the constitution of major UK political parties to provide a set way in which to appoint a new leader. Until 1965, the Conservative Party had no fixed mechanism for this, it fell to the Queen to appoint Harold Macmillan as the new prime minister, after taking the consensus of cabinet ministers.
By convention, ministers are members of the House of House of Lords. A handful have been appointed who were outside Parliament, but in most cases they entered Parliament in a by-election or by receiving a peerage. Exceptions include Peter Mandelson, appointed Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform in October 2008 before his peerage. Since 1902, all prime ministers have been members of the Commons; the new session of Parliament was delayed to await the outcome of his by-election, which happened
Baron is a rank of nobility or title of honour hereditary. The female equivalent is baroness; the word baron comes from a Late Latin barō "man. The scholar Isidore of Seville in the 7th century thought the word was from Greek βᾰρῠ́ς "heavy", but the word is of Old Frankish origin, cognate with Old English beorn meaning "warrior, nobleman". Cornutus in the first century reports a word barones which he took to be of Gaulish origin, he glosses it as meaning servos militum and explains it as meaning "stupid", by reference to classical Latin bārō "simpleton, dunce". During the Ancien Régime, French baronies were much like Scottish ones. Feudal landholders who possessed a barony were entitled to style themselves baron if they were nobles; these baronies could be sold until 1789 when feudal law was abolished. The title of baron was assumed as a titre de courtoisie by many nobles, whether members of the Nobles of the Robe or cadets of Nobles of the Sword who held no title in their own right. Emperor Napoléon created a new imperial nobility.
The titles could not be purchased. In 1815, King Louis XVIII created a new peerage system and a Chamber of Peers, based on the British model. Baron-peer was the lowest title, but the heirs to pre-1789 barons could remain barons, as could the elder sons of viscount-peers and younger sons of count-peers; this peerage system was abolished in 1848. In pre-republican Germany all the knightly families of the Holy Roman Empire were recognised as of baronial rank, although Ritter is the literal translation for "knight", persons who held that title enjoyed a distinct, but lower, rank in Germany's nobility than barons; the wife of a Freiherr is called a Freifrau or sometimes Baronin, his daughter Freiin or sometimes Baroness. Families which had always held this status were called Uradel, were heraldically entitled to a three pointed coronet. Families, ennobled at a definite point in time had seven points on their coronet; these families held their fief in vassalage from a suzerain. The holder of an allodial barony was thus called Freiherr.
Subsequently, sovereigns in Germany conferred the title of Freiherr as a rank in the nobility, without implication of allodial or feudal status. Since 1919, hereditary titles have had no legal status in Germany. In modern, republican Germany and Baron remain heritable only as part of the legal surname. In Austria, hereditary titles have been banned. Thus, a member of the reigning House of Habsburg or members of the former nobility would in most cases be addressed as Herr/Frau in an official/public surrounding, for instance in the media. Still, in both countries, honorary styles like "His/her Highness", "Serenity", etc. persists in social use as a form of courtesy. In Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, barons remain members of the recognized nobility, the sovereigns retain authority to confer the title Generally, all legitimate males of a German baronial family inherit the title Freiherr or Baron from birth, as all legitimate daughters inherit the title of Freiin or Baroness; as a result, German barons have been more numerous than those of such countries where primogeniture with respect to title inheritance prevails as France and the United Kingdom.
In Italy, barone was the lowest rank of feudal nobility except for that of vassallo. The title of baron was most introduced into southern Italy by the Normans during the 11th century. Whereas a barony might consist of two or more manors, by 1700 we see what were single manors erected into baronies, counties or marquisates. Since the early 1800s, when feudalism was abolished in the various Italian states, it has been granted as a simple hereditary title without any territorial designation or predicato; the untitled younger son of a baron is a nobile dei baroni and in informal usage might be called a baron, while certain baronies devolve to heirs male general. Since 1948 titles of nobility have not been recognised by the Italian state. In the absence of a nobiliary or heraldic authority in Italy there are, in fact, numerous persons who claim to be barons or counts without any basis for such claims. Baron and noble are hereditary titles and, as such, could only be created or recognised by the kings of Italy or the pre-unitary Italian states such as the Two Sicilies, Parma or Modena, or by the Holy See or the Republic of San Marino.
Beginning around 1800, a number of signori began to style themselves barone but in many cases this was not sanctioned by decree, while there was less justification in the holder of any large landed estate calling himself a baron. Both were common p
Lord Great Chamberlain
In the United Kingdom, the Lord Great Chamberlain is the sixth of the Great Officers of State, ranking beneath the Lord Privy Seal and above the Lord High Constable. The Lord Great Chamberlain has charge over the Palace of Westminster. On formal state occasions, he wears a distinctive scarlet court uniform and bears a gold key and a white stave as the insignia of his office; the position is a hereditary one, held since 1780 in gross. At any one time, a single person exercises the office of Lord Great Chamberlain; the various individuals who hold fractions of the Lord Great Chamberlainship are technically each Joint Hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain, the right to exercise the office for a given reign rotates proportionately to the fraction of the office held. For instance, the Marquesses of Cholmondeley hold one-half of the office, may therefore exercise the office or appoint a deputy every alternate reign.. The office of Lord Great Chamberlain is distinct from the non-hereditary office of Lord Chamberlain of the Household, a position in the monarch's household.
This office arose in the 14th century as a deputy of the Lord Great Chamberlain to fulfil the latter's duties in the Royal Household, but now they are quite distinct. The House of Lords Act 1999 removed the automatic right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords, but the Act provided that a hereditary peer exercising the office of Lord Great Chamberlain be exempt from such a rule, in order to perform ceremonial functions; the office was held by Robert Malet, a son of one of the leading companions of William the Conqueror. In 1133, King Henry I declared Malet's estates and titles forfeit, awarded the office of Lord Great Chamberlain to Aubrey de Vere, whose son was created Earl of Oxford. Thereafter, the Earls of Oxford held the title continuously until 1526, with a few intermissions due to the forfeiture of some Earls for treason. In 1526, the fourteenth Earl of Oxford died, leaving his aunts as his heirs; the earldom was inherited by his second cousin. The Sovereign decreed that the office belonged to The Crown, was not transmitted along with the earldom.
The Sovereign appointed the fifteenth Earl to the office, but the appointment was deemed for life and was not hereditary. The family's association with the office was interrupted in 1540, when the fifteenth earl died and Thomas Cromwell, the King's chief adviser, was appointed Lord Great Chamberlain. After Cromwell's attainder and execution the same year, the office passed through a few more court figures, until 1553, when it was passed back to the De Vere family, the sixteenth Earl of Oxford, again as an uninheritable life appointment. Queen Mary I ruled that the Earls of Oxford were indeed entitled to the office of Lord Great Chamberlain on an hereditary basis. Thus, the sixteenth and eighteenth Earls of Oxford held the position on a hereditary basis until 1626, when the eighteenth Earl died, again leaving a distant relative as heir male, but a closer one as a female heir; the House of Lords ruled that the office belonged to the heir male, Robert Bertie, 14th Baron Willoughby de Eresby, who became Earl of Lindsey.
The office remained vested in the Earls of Lindsey, who became Dukes of Ancaster and Kesteven. In 1779, the fourth Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven died, leaving two sisters as female heirs, an uncle as an heir male; the uncle became the fifth and last Duke, but the House of Lords ruled that the two sisters were jointly Lord Great Chamberlain and could appoint a Deputy to fulfil the functions of the office. The barony of Willoughby de Eresby went into abeyance between the two sisters, but the Sovereign terminated the abeyance and granted the title to the elder sister, Priscilla Bertie, 21st Baroness Willoughby de Eresby; the younger sister married the first Marquess of Cholmondeley. The office of Lord Great Chamberlain, was divided between Priscilla and her younger sister Georgiana. Priscilla's share was split between two of her granddaughters, has been split several more times since then. By contrast, Georgiana's share has been inherited by a single male heir each time; the Lord Great Chamberlain has a major part to play in royal coronations, having the right to dress the monarch on coronation day and to serve the monarch water before and after the coronation banquet, being involved in investing the monarch with the insignia of rule.
The fractions show the holder's share in the office, the date they held it. The current holders of the office are shown in bold face. Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Lord Great Chamberlain". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press. Www.debretts.com 1965 decisions regarding the Lord Great Chamberlain's responsibilities in the Palace of Westminster Planning Act 2008, s. 227 Principal Office Holders in the House of Lords. House of Lords Library Note, includes a brief overview of the Lord Great Chamberlain www.cracroftspeerage.co.uk
A marquess is a nobleman of high hereditary rank in various European peerages and in those of some of their former colonies. The term is used to translate equivalent Asian styles, as in Imperial China and Imperial Japan. In the German lands, a margrave was a ruler of an immediate Imperial territory, not a nobleman like a marquess or marquis in Western and Southern Europe. German rulers did not confer the title of marquis; the word marquess entered the English language from the Old French marchis in the late 13th or early 14th century. The French word was derived from marche, itself descended from the Middle Latin marca, from which the modern English words march and mark descend; the distinction between governors of frontier territories and interior territories was made as early as the founding of the Roman Empire when some provinces were set aside for administration by the senate and more unpacified or vulnerable provinces were administered by the emperor. The titles "duke" and "count" were distinguished as ranks in the late empire, with dux being used for a provincial military governor and the rank of comes given to the leader of an active army along the frontier.
Several marquesses lived in Belgium, still today this title exists. The Marquis of Beauffort; the Marquis of la Boëssière-Thiennes the Marquis of Trazegnies d'Ittre the Marquis du Parc. the Marquis Imperiali. The Marquis of Radiguès; the Marquis of Ruffo de Bonneval de la Fare the Marquis of Spontin the Marquis of Assche the Marquis of Yve. the Marquis of Saint-Floris the Marquis of Becelaere the Marquis of Wemmel the Marquis of Bergen op Zoom the Marquis of Rode the Marquis of Lede Currently in Spain the rank of Marquess/Marchioness still exists. 142 of them are Spanish grandees. A'marqués is addressed as "Illustrious Lord", or if he/she is a grandee as "Your Excellency". Examples include 10th Marquis of Villaverde; the honorific prefix "The Most Honourable" is an honorific that precedes the name of a marquess or marchioness in the United Kingdom. In Great Britain and in Ireland, the correct spelling of the aristocratic title of this rank is marquess. In Scotland the French spelling is sometimes used.
In Great Britain and in Ireland, the title ranks below a duke and above an earl. A woman with the rank of a marquess, or the wife of a marquess, is called a marchioness in Great Britain and Ireland, or a marquise elsewhere in Europe; the dignity, rank or position of the title is referred to as a marquessate. The theoretical distinction between a marquess and other titles has, since the Middle Ages, faded into obscurity. In times past, the distinction between a count and a marquess was that the land of a marquess, called a march, was on the border of the country, while a count's land, called a county was not; as a result of this, a marquess was trusted to defend and fortify against hostile neighbours and was thus more important and ranked higher than a count. The title is ranked below that of a duke, largely restricted to the royal family; the rank of marquess was a late introduction to the British peerage: no marcher lords had the rank of marquess, though some were earls. On the evening of the Coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838, the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne explained to her why: I spoke to Ld M. about the numbers of Peers present at the Coronation, & he said it was quite unprecedented.
I observed that there were few Viscounts, to which he replied "There are few Viscounts," that they were an old sort of title & not English. Like other major Western noble titles, marquess is sometimes used to render certain titles in non-Western languages with their own traditions though they are, as a rule unrelated and thus hard to compare. However, they are considered "equivalent" in relative rank; this is the case with: In ancient China, 侯 was the second of five noble ranks 爵 created by King Wu of Zhou and is translated as marquess or marquis. In imperial China, 侯 is but not always, a middle-to-high ranking hereditary nobility title, its exact rank varies from dynasty to dynasty, within a dynasty. It is created with different sub-ranks. In Meiji Japan, 侯爵, a hereditary peerage rank, was introduced in 1884, granting a hereditary seat in the upper house of the imperial diet just as a British peerage did, with the ranks rendered as baron, count and duke/prince. In Korea, the title of 현후, of which the meaning is "marquess of district", existed for the hereditary nobility in the Goryeo dynasty.
It was equivalent to the upper fifth rank of nine bureaucratic orders, was in the third rank of six nobility orders. In the Joseon dynasty, there was no title equivalent to marquess. In Vietnam's Annamite realm / empire, hầu
Anthony Neil Wedgwood Benn known as Anthony Wedgwood Benn, but as Tony Benn, was a British politician and diarist. He was a Member of Parliament for 47 years between the 1950 and 2001 general elections and a Cabinet minister in the Labour governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan in the 1960s and 1970s. A moderate, he was identified as being on the party's hard left from the early 1980s, was seen as a key proponent of democratic socialism within the party. Benn inherited a peerage on his father's death, which prevented his continuing as an MP, he fought to remain in the House of Commons, campaigned for the ability to renounce the title, a campaign which succeeded with the Peerage Act 1963. He was an active member of the Fabian Society and was its Chairman from 1964 until 1965. In the Labour Government of 1964–70 he served first as Postmaster General, where he oversaw the opening of the Post Office Tower, as a "technocratic" Minister of Technology, he served as Chairman of the Labour Party in 1971–72 while in opposition, in the Labour Government of 1974–1979, he returned to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Industry, before being made Secretary of State for Energy, retaining his post when James Callaghan replaced Wilson as Prime Minister.
When the Labour Party was again in opposition through the 1980s, he emerged as a prominent figure on its left wing and the term "Bennite" came into currency as someone associated with radical left-wing politics. He unsuccessfully challenged Neil Kinnock for the Labour leadership in 1988. Benn was described as "one of the few UK politicians to have become more left-wing after holding ministerial office". After leaving Parliament, Benn was President of the Stop the War Coalition from 2001 until his death in 2014. Benn was born in Westminster, London on 3 April 1925, he had two brothers, killed in the Second World War, David, a specialist in Russia and Eastern Europe. After the Thames flood in January 1928 their house was uninhabitable so the Benn family moved to Scotland for over 12 months, their father, William Wedgwood Benn, was a Liberal Member of Parliament from 1906 who crossed the floor to the Labour Party in 1928 and was appointed Secretary of State for India by Ramsay MacDonald in 1929, a position he held until the Labour Party's landslide electoral defeat in 1931.
William Benn was elevated to the House of Lords and Tony Benn was subsequently titled with the honorific prefix, The Honourable. William Benn was given the title of Viscount Stansgate in 1942: the new wartime coalition government was short of working Labour peers in the upper house. In 1945–46, William Benn was the Secretary of State for Air in the first majority Labour Government. Benn's mother, Margaret Wedgwood Benn, was a theologian and the founder President of the Congregational Federation, she was a member of the League of the Church Militant, the predecessor of the Movement for the Ordination of Women. His mother's theology had a profound influence on Benn, as she taught him that the stories in the Bible were based around the struggle between the prophets and the kings and that he ought in his life to support the prophets over the kings, who had power, as the prophets taught righteousness. Benn asserted that the teachings of Jesus Christ had a "radical political importance" on his life, made a distinction between the historical Jesus as "a carpenter of Nazareth" who advocated social justice and egalitarianism and "the way in which he's presented by some religious authorities.
He believed that it was a "great mistake" to assume that the teachings of Christianity are outdated in modern Britain, Higgins wrote in The Benn Inheritance that Benn was "a socialist whose political commitment owes much more to the teaching of Jesus than the writing of Marx". In his life, Benn emphasised issues regarding morality and righteousness, as well as various ethical principles of Nonconformism. "I've never thought we can understand the world we lived in unless we understood the history of the church", Benn said to the Catholic Herald. "All political freedoms were won, first of all, through religious freedom. Some of the arguments about the control of the media today, which are big arguments, are the arguments that would have been fought in the religious wars. You have the satellites coming in now—well, it is the multinational church all over again. That's why Mrs Thatcher pulled Britain out of UNESCO: she was not prepared, any more than Ronald Reagan was, to be part of an organisation that talked about a New World Information Order, people speaking to each other without the help of Murdoch or Maxwell."According to Peter Wilby in the New Statesman, Benn "decided to do without the paraphernalia and doctrine of organised religion but not without the teachings of Jesus".
Although Benn became more agnostic as he became older, he was intrigued by the interconnections between Christianity and socialism. Wilby wrote in The Guardian that although former Chancellor Stafford Cripps described Benn as "as keen a Christian as I am myself", Benn wrote in 2005 that he was "a Christian agnostic" who believed "in Jesus the prophet, not Christ the king" rejecting the label of "humanist". Both of Benn's grandfathers were Liberal Party MPs.
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, its dependencies and its overseas territories. The current monarch and head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended the throne in 1952; the monarch and their immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties. As the monarchy is constitutional, the monarch is limited to non-partisan functions such as bestowing honours and appointing the Prime Minister; the monarch is commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces. Though the ultimate executive authority over the government is still formally by and through the monarch's royal prerogative, these powers may only be used according to laws enacted in Parliament and, in practice, within the constraints of convention and precedent; the British monarchy traces its origins from the petty kingdoms of early medieval Scotland and Anglo-Saxon England, which consolidated into the kingdoms of England and Scotland by the 10th century.
England was conquered by the Normans in 1066, after which Wales too came under control of Anglo-Normans. The process was completed in the 13th century when the Principality of Wales became a client state of the English kingdom. Meanwhile, Magna Carta began a process of reducing the English monarch's political powers. From 1603, the English and Scottish kingdoms were ruled by a single sovereign. From 1649 to 1660, the tradition of monarchy was broken by the republican Commonwealth of England, which followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms; the Act of Settlement 1701 excluded Roman Catholics, or those who married them, from succession to the English throne. In 1707, the kingdoms of England and Scotland were merged to create the Kingdom of Great Britain, in 1801, the Kingdom of Ireland joined to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; the British monarch was the nominal head of the vast British Empire, which covered a quarter of the world's surface at its greatest extent in 1921. In the early 1920s the Balfour Declaration recognised the evolution of the Dominions of the Empire into separate, self-governing countries within a Commonwealth of Nations.
After the Second World War, the vast majority of British colonies and territories became independent bringing the Empire to an end. George VI and his successor, Elizabeth II, adopted the title Head of the Commonwealth as a symbol of the free association of its independent member states; the United Kingdom and fifteen other independent sovereign states that share the same person as their monarch are called Commonwealth realms. Although the monarch is shared, each country is sovereign and independent of the others, the monarch has a different and official national title and style for each realm. In the uncodified Constitution of the United Kingdom, the monarch is the head of state; the Queen's image is used to signify British sovereignty and government authority—her profile, for instance, appearing on currency, her portrait in government buildings. The sovereign is further both mentioned in and the subject of songs, loyal toasts, salutes. "God Save the Queen" is the British national anthem. Oaths of allegiance are made to her lawful successors.
The monarch takes little direct part in government. The decisions to exercise sovereign powers are delegated from the monarch, either by statute or by convention, to ministers or officers of the Crown, or other public bodies, exclusive of the monarch personally, thus the acts of state done in the name of the Crown, such as Crown Appointments if performed by the monarch, such as the Queen's Speech and the State Opening of Parliament, depend upon decisions made elsewhere: Legislative power is exercised by the Queen-in-Parliament, by and with the advice and consent of Parliament, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Executive power is exercised by Her Majesty's Government, which comprises ministers the prime minister and the Cabinet, technically a committee of the Privy Council, they have the direction of the Armed Forces of the Crown, the Civil Service and other Crown Servants such as the Diplomatic and Secret Services. Judicial power is vested in the various judiciaries of the United Kingdom, who by constitution and statute have judicial independence of the Government.
The Church of England, of which the monarch is the head, has its own legislative and executive structures. Powers independent of government are granted to other public bodies by statute or Statutory Instrument such as an Order in Council, Royal Commission or otherwise; the sovereign's role as a constitutional monarch is limited to non-partisan functions, such as granting honours. This role has been recognised since the 19th century; the constitutional writer Walter Bagehot identified the monarchy in 1867 as the "dignified part" rather than the "efficient part" of government. Whenever necessary, the monarch is responsible for appointing a new prime minister. In accordance with unwritten constitutional conventions, the sovereign must appoint an individual who commands the support of the House of Commons the leader of the party or coalition that has a majority in that House; the prime minister takes office by attending the monarch in private audience, after "kissing hands" that appointment is effective without any other f