[ARCHIVED CONTENT] 20 most asked questions
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20 most asked questions

Q1. How can I find out about which charities members of the Royal Family support or their involvement with the armed services?

A. You can find out about the number and type of patronages held by members of the Royal family by searching the database in the Charities and Patronages section.

Q2. I’d like to obtain an image of a member of the Royal Family, where can I get one from?

A. Details of how to obtain an image of The Queen for official use can be found in our Images and Broadcasts section.

Q3. How can I find out if a member of the Royal Family will be visiting my area?

A. The Royal Diary on the website lists all of the forthcoming engagements in the next two months. To find what’s happening in your area, visit the Latest News and Diary section.

Q4. Who can I obtain permission from to use the term ‘Royal’ in a title?

A. You need to contact the Ministry of Justice for advice on how Royal titles may be used. Visit the Ministry of Justice's website.

Q5. When is The Queen’s Official Birthday?

A. The Queen’s official birthday is not a universally fixed day. In the United Kingdom it occurs on either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd Saturday in June and is decided by the Government. In 2009 Her Majesty's official birthday is on 13 June. The Queen’s official birthday is marked by the parade known as Trooping the Colour, which has been held for this purpose almost every year since 1748. On this day The Queen’s Birthday Honours are announced.

In Australia, The Queen's birthday is celebrated as a public holiday on the second Monday of June. In Western Australia, The Queen's birthday holiday is celebrated in late September or early October.

In New Zealand, The Queen's official birthday is also a public holiday in June, celebrated instead on the first Monday.

In Canada, The Queen’s birthday is also a public holiday either the Monday on or before 24 May, Victoria Day, (Queen Victoria’s Birth). In 1957, Victoria Day was permanently appointed as The Queen's Birthday in Canada.

The Queen’s actual birthday is on 21 April, which Her Majesty spends privately.

Q6. How can I attend or nominate someone for one of The Queen’s Garden Parties?

A. Individuals cannot apply for an invitation to a garden party directly. Nominations are made through Lord-Lieutenants, and organisations such as the Civil Service, Armed Services, Diplomatic Corps, charities and societies.

Q7. Why, when and where are gun salutes fired?

A. Gun salutes occur on the following Royal anniversaries:

6 February (Accession Day)
21 April (The Queen's birthday)
2 June (Coronation Day)
10 June (The Duke of Edinburgh's birthday)
The Queen's official birthday
The State Opening of Parliament (usually November or December).

Gun salutes also occur when Parliament is prorogued by the Sovereign, on Royal births and when a visiting Head of State meets the Sovereign in London, Windsor or Edinburgh.

The number of rounds fired in a Royal salute depends on the place and occasion. The basic Royal salute is 21 rounds. In Hyde Park an extra 20 rounds are added because it is a Royal Park.

At the Tower of London 62 rounds are fired on Royal anniversaries (the basic 21, plus a further 20 because the Tower is a Royal Palace and Fortress, plus another 21 'for the City of London') and 41 on other occasions.

In London salutes are fired in Hyde Park and The Tower of London. On State visits, at the State Opening of Parliament and for The Queen's Birthday Parade, Green Park is used instead of Hyde Park.

In Hyde Park the salute is fired by The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery. The first round is fired at noon (11.00 am on The Queen's official birthday).

At the Tower of London the salute is fired by the Honourable Artillery Company at 1.00 pm.

Q8. On which occasions do the Royal Standard and Union Flag fly?

A. The flying of the Union Flag on public buildings is decided by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport at The Queen's command.

The Union Flag is flown on Government buildings on days marking the birthdays of members of the Royal Family, Commonwealth Day, Coronation Day, The Queen's official birthday, Remembrance Day and on the days of the State Opening and prorogation of Parliament.

It is also flown on St David's Day (Wales), St George's Day (England), St Andrew's Day (Scotland), and St Patrick's Day (Northern Ireland).

The Royal Standard is never flown at half-mast, as the Sovereign never dies (the new monarch immediately succeeds his or her predecessor).

Q9. In how many countries is The Queen Head of State?

A. Including the British Isles, The Queen is Head of State in 16 Commonwealth countries. Her Majesty is head of the Commonwealth which includes 53 countries.

Q10. What are the names of The Queen’s corgis?

A. The Queen has four Corgis – Linnet, Monty, Holly, Willow. She also has three Dorgis (cross-breed of Dachshund and Corgi) Cider, Candy, Vulcan.

Q11. Where does The Queen live?

When The Queen is working, she divides her time between London and Windsor, unless she is on an overseas visit. She spends a week in Edinburgh every year called ‘Holyrood Week’. Her Majesty spends her holiday at Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, or Sandringham House, Norfolk.

Q12. Does The Queen own Buckingham Palace?

A. Occupied Royal Palaces, such as Buckingham Palace, are not the private property of The Queen. They are occupied by the Sovereign and held in trust for future generations.

There are two categories of Royal residences: the occupied Royal Palaces and the unoccupied Royal Palaces.

The former comprises Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, St. James’s Palace, Kensington Palace (excluding the State Apartments) and Clarence House, and are used by members of the Royal Family and their Households.

The latter are no longer used as residences by the Sovereign and comprises Hampton Court, the Tower of London, the State Apartments at Kensington Palace, the Banqueting House at Whitehall, and Kew Palace with Queen Charlotte’s Cottage.

Buckingham Palace is not only the London home of The Queen; The Duke of Edinburgh, The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra also have private offices and apartments located within the Palace.

The Queen privately owns two properties, Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House, which are not publicly funded.

Q13. How many rooms does Buckingham Palace have? How big is the garden?

A. Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms. These include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

Buckingham Palace is 108 metres long across the front, 120 metres deep (including the quadrangle) and 24 metres high. The total floor area of the Palace, from basement to roof, covers over 77,000 square metres.

Buckingham Palace's garden covers 40 acres.

Q14. Does The Queen have any other titles?

A. The Queen's formal style and title vary slightly in each of her realms, taking into account the fact that Her Majesty is Queen of different countries, and is Head of the Commonwealth.

In the Maori language, The Queen is known as Kotuku, which means "the white heron", a cherished bird rarely seen in New Zealand. In Papua New Guinea The Queen is known in the pidgin language of Tok Pisin as 'Missis Kwin', and as 'Mama belong big family'.

The Queen also has other titles by which she is known in different parts of Britain. In the Isle of Man, she is Lord of Man; in the Channel Islands, she is Duke of Normandy; and in the land of the Duchy of Lancaster, she is Duke of Lancaster.

Q15. What’s The Queen’s full name?

A. The Queen was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York

Q16. Does The Queen hold a passport?

A. As a British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, it is unnecessary for The Queen to possess one. All other members of the Royal Family, including The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales, have passports.

Q17. How can I write to The Queen?

A. Letters to The Queen should be addressed to:
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA.

Q18. My great-grandfather worked at Buckingham Palace. Can you help me find out more about him?

A. The Royal Archives has references to people employed in the Royal Household from the 18th century, and indexes to names of people employed from 1660 onwards. Please put your enquiry in writing, including as much detail as possible, and send it to: The Royal Archives, Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 1NJ. For earlier periods, contact the National Archives at Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.

Q19. How do I find out about arranging a message from The Queen to mark a 100th birthday or a significant wedding anniversary?

A.
Information about who is eligible to receive such messages and how to apply can be found in the Anniversary Messages section of this website.

Q20.How can I find out about The Queen's 'green' credentials?

Information about the Royal Household's green initiatives can be found on this website.

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