The years after the coronation of Queen Elisabeth II the royals continued to embrace television as a way of connecting with the British people:
Much of this push for transparency can be traced back to Prince Philip, whose unconventional upbringing inspired him to modernize the monarchy.
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"By the ’80s, he [Prince Philip] had written nine books. He was the first person in the royal family to use television. He did a television documentary. He persuaded the Queen in 1957 to televise her annual Christmas message. And he even taught her how to use a teleprompter. He was the first member of the royal family to use a computer … He picked up the phone, but also wrote all his own emails. He wrote his speeches. He was a man of searching intellect, great curiosity."
Born on the Greek island of Corfu in June 1921, Philip was the great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria and nephew of Constantine I of Greece, whose 1922 abdication forced the young infant and his family to flee their home country.
Philip spent stretches of time in France, England and Germany, and was notably scarred by tragedies, including the institutionalization of his mother and death of his beloved older sister in a plane crash.
“He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I … owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.”
'Being married to the queen, it seemed to me, my first duty was to serve her in the best way I could.''
Prince Philip was never in line for the throne (his eldest son stands to inherit it) and never held the title of king.
The reason for that: in the British monarchy, a woman who marries the monarch can use the ceremonial title of queen - but men who marry the monarch can't use the title king, which can only be used by male sovereigns.
For centuries, virtually every country in the western world had some sort of king and royal family.
Some people in republics like France or the United States will say that clever people grew out of them. Monarchy lovers will respond that really clever countries kept their monarchies. They argue that royal families embody their country's human roots and identity. Brave kings and queens often become symbols of their nation's unity in times of war or crises.
As of 2021, there are 16 Commonwealth realms: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom.
These are known as the 'Commonwealth Realms'.
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