Young reporters investigate the role of the monarchy in the UK, from the relationship with parliament and the military to the inside story of the Queen's coronation.
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We've all read about the kings and queens of history. Henry VIII.
Queen Elizabeth I. Queen Victoria.
But what is the role of the Royal Family in the modern world?
My team of young reporters are investigating
the monarchy in Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
bringing you everything you need to know about our best-known
and most celebrated family.
We're finding about the monarch's relationship with Parliament.
In the UK we have the Queen as head of state.
That is a role that involves both formal and ceremonial duties,
home and abroad. But in other countries,
the head of state is also the head of government. Can you think of a famous example?
The President of the United States of America.
Exactly. But our head of government is...
-The Prime Minister.
-Exactly. So with a queen,
and the Prime Minister, who's in charge of running the country?
Callum is off to the Houses of Parliament to go behind the
scenes of one of the biggest royal and political events of the year,
while Elim and Saffron are at Downing Street
to hear from the Queen's 12th Prime Minister, David Cameron,
about the head of government's relationship with the monarch.
Brilliant. Where do you want me?
Who is really in charge of the country?
You, the Prime Minister, or the Queen?
The Queen has become more formal and ceremonial
so the Prime Minister, I suppose,
with the Cabinet, really runs the country. It means
the Prime Minister can concentrate on the business of government, what
we tax, what we spend, what we do with our schools, our hospitals.
The monarch can concentrate on the very important
but quite ceremonial duties of appointing prime ministers,
the opening of Parliament, commissioning officers
into the Army, handing out medals, thanking people for their service.
Very important, not to be underestimated at all
but you separate that from the Prime Minister.
One of the Queen's most important ceremonial
and political roles is attending the State Opening of Parliament.
Parliament is divided between the publicly-elected MPs
in the House of Commons and separate to them,
specially-appointed peers in the House of Lords.
The State Opening is a centuries-old tradition where each year,
the Queen travels by horse-drawn carriage to the
Houses of Parliament to open a new Parliamentary term.
It's a rare occasion where the Lords,
the Commons and the monarch come together.
When the Queen arrives at Westminster,
she takes her special throne in the House of Lords.
Callum is meeting the Queen's messenger in Parliament,
famously known as Black Rod.
This is the throne. The throne is exclusively for the Queen.
Nobody else goes on to the top step.
Nobody else sits on the throne except the Queen
and of course the Duke of Edinburgh.
Just like the chamber of the House of Commons is only for MPs,
the chamber of the House of Lords is only for the Lords
and the top step here in the throne is only for the sovereign.
If you look very carefully at the thrones,
you'll see that the one on the left as we're looking at it,
the one that the Queen sits in, is slightly higher,
is two inches higher than the one on the right, which is the consort's throne,
that is where the Duke of Edinburgh sits.
-Is there any reason for that?
-No, it's just tradition.
The Queen should be sitting on a slightly higher chair. Don't you think that's right?
Of course. If there's a king, would the King sit on the higher one then?
Yes, the King would sit on it.
The sovereign. Whoever is the sovereign.
The monarch sits on the right-hand throne, the higher throne.
CHOIR MUSIC PLAYS
It's Black Rod's job to collect the MPs from the House of Commons
and bring them to the Queen.
How he is greeted by the House of Commons is one of the most
famous moments of the State Opening ceremony.
KNOCK ON DOOR
What I'd like to know is why do you walk down, why not the Queen?
Well, the Queen's got a messenger here and that's me.
She wants to wait in her House of Lords chamber
for the MPs from the House of Commons to come to her.
She sends me as the messenger to demand their presence
in the Queen - that's why she sends me down and doesn't go herself.
We go down towards the doors here. And then you know what happens next?
I'm guessing that you probably knock on the door.
It's worse than that. They slam the door in my face before I get there.
In order to get in, I have to knock.
-How many times do you have to knock on the door?
HE KNOCKS THREE TIMES
Obviously there is a purpose behind what you're doing.
Where is it originated from?
This all started when Charles I, in 1642, wanted to arrest
five members of Parliament so he sent his messenger down here to
the House of Commons to arrest the five members of Parliament on a charge of treason.
The Commons wanted to maintain their independence of the Crown
so they didn't let the King's messenger in,
shut the door in his face and the MPs made their escape.
That was the way of the members of Parliament saying we're independent of the Crown.
SPEAKER: Black Rod!
So having knocked and the doors open, I then walk in.
I walk towards the chamber and I have to say...
Mr Speaker, the Queen commands this honourable house...
..to attend her Majesty immediately in the House of Peers.
Mr Speaker gets up from his chair
and he walks down and he comes up to me and we walk together
and we walk all the way back,
right up to the House of Lords and all the other MPs follow.
Why doesn't the Queen actually enter the House of Commons at all?
What is the reason behind that?
This is the MPs, the members of Parliament. This is their place.
The Queen has her place.
That separation is identifiable by the fact that she doesn't come here
and the MPs have their independence and their autonomy
and their freedom to talk without the Queen being present.
We live in a modern society nowadays.
For something to still happen today as what something happened
hundreds of years ago, do you believe it should still happen?
Although we live in a modern world, we do these odd performances,
which makes people think, "Why do we do that?" Why do we do that?
It draws attention to our constitution
and this is the one time in a year
when we bring together the Queen, who sits on the throne,
the House of Lords, her advisers, who sits around her and the MPs from
the House of Commons come to the House of Lords to hear the Queen's speech.
You get those three parts of our constitution altogether.
So it's theatre, drama, its constitution, its politics,
it's history and I think people enjoy it.
The main event of the State Opening is the monarch's speech.
The speech outlines many of the new laws the Government plans
to introduce in the coming year.
My government will continue to reduce crime and protect national security.
Although the Queen reads out the speech,
it's actually written by the Prime Minister.
The Queen holds a weekly audience with the Prime Minister,
a meeting where she is briefed on the political issues of the day.
Why do you meet the Queen every week?
The purpose of the meeting is for the Prime Minister to go
and see the Queen, to discuss the current issues in the country,
in Europe and in the world that the Queen needs to hear about
and the Queen asks lots of questions about what's happening.
The process of trying to explain what's happening in
some of these situations helps to clarify the nub of the issue.
As I say, she is very experienced so she gives good advice and asks good questions.
When the Prime Minister
and his government want a new law to be passed,
it has to be approved by the House of Commons, the House of Lords
and the Queen before it can become official.
Laws are made here in Parliament.
Before a law is passed, it is known as a...draft bill.
Bills can start either in the House of Commons or
the House of Lords. The first house debates the bill,
makes changes and eventually votes on whether they want it to become a law.
Then it's passed to the second house.
The other house may make changes to the bill and pass it back to the first house.
Both houses must agree on the changes so it can pass back
and forth for up to a year.
The Queen as head of state must agree to the bill.
This is the final stage. The bill then becomes...an Act of Parliament.
Throughout her reign, the Queen has never refused to pass a law.
In fact, it's over 300 years
since any monarch went against the wishes of Parliament.
Callum is meeting political journalist Anita Anand to find out
just how much power the Queen really has.
So just how in charge of the country is the Queen?
If you're asking whether she has powers to change your life
or my life, the answer really is no,
She doesn't. She can't do anything that could curtail your freedom or
make your life better or make you pay less money in taxes.
That is the job of government. That is the job of the people we elect.
So if you think about it, the country runs a bit like...
Imagine it's like a pyramid.
Right at the top you've got the Queen, she sits there.
Underneath her you've got the House of Commons and House of Lords
and underneath that, us, we the people. Actually, it's strange.
Although she is at the top, we have all the power.
We're the ones who decide who the MPs are.
They're the ones who enact the laws that we have to live by
and the Queen really rubberstamps it all.
That's kind of her job.
-Can she refuse to just not stamp it at all?
-Well, in theory she can.
There are lots of mechanisms in place in government to stop it
getting to that point.
We have an opposition in this country that will then say, "No, we don't want that to happen."
It will be fought out at that level, that middle level
so it doesn't really ever get to that point where she has to.
Although the real power of governing the country is
held by the Prime Minister and Parliament, politicians come
and go far more frequently the monarchs, who can provide
a constant role as head of state across several decades.
Today we're finding out about the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Princess Elizabeth was just 25 years old when her father,
King George VI, died, making her Queen Elizabeth II.
A year and half later in 1953 she had her coronation,
but can anyone tell me what was unique about that coronation?
It was on television and it was the first time something like this had ever happened.
That's right. Even though television was still very new,
23 million people watched the coronation being broadcast live into their homes.
In fact some people went out and bought televisions especially to watch it.
But this coronation was much more than public entertainment.
It was an incredibly significant event. We're going to find out why.
and Elim are visiting Westminster Abbey in London.
William the Conqueror was crowned here almost 1,000 years ago, in 1066.
Since then the Abbey has been the location for all
the coronations of Britain's kings and queens.
The last sovereign to be crowned here was our monarch,
Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
Saffron, Callum and Elim have been invited to a special service
at the Abbey marking 60 years of the Queen's Coronation,
attended by the Queen and the rest of the Royal family.
Many of the people also present at this commemoration
were at the 1953 coronation,
including the Queen's maids of honour,
six young women specially chosen to accompany the Queen on her historic day.
Saffron is meeting two of them today, Lady Glenconner and Lady Rayne.
I remember waiting just here.
We could hear the Queen coming. We could hear this roar.
Then suddenly, round the corner there, came this golden coach.
It was like a fairytale.
It must have been a really special day for you both. What were your roles?
Well, our roles were to carry the Queen's train.
The train was a piece of velvet, almost seven metres long,
forming part of the Queen's coronation gown.
It had six handles sewn into it
so it could be carried by the six maids.
We were absolutely amazed. This beautiful dress.
She had a tiny waist like that and wonderful skin and eyes.
We just thought she looked like the fairy queen she was.
Absolutely amazing. We helped her out and slowly went up those steps
There were six of us. Six maids of honour.
And Jane was in front, one of the ones in front,
and I was in the middle and we all waited there,
we got the train all ready and the Queen hadn't said anything to us
up to that point but she then turned round and she said, "Ready, girls?"
The television coverage of the Coronation was
narrated by legendary broadcaster Richard Dimbleby.
RICHARD DIMBLEBY: And now, almost motionless,
we watched it coming together
almost like a mosaic, fragment by fragment of colour
from the time very early this morning when the Abbey was almost empty.
His son David Dimbleby, now also a well-known television
presenter, accompanied his father to the Abbey on that momentous day.
He was just 14 years old at the time.
At the Coronation in 1953,
-when you were our age, what are your memories of it?
-Well, my memory...
Actually, I'll tell you, everybody who was at the Coronation, in
the crowd or the Abbey or whatever, really has powerful memories of it.
I remember this huge procession, thousands and thousands.
You have never seen...
You know, you could make a war with the people who were there.
Troops from all over the Commonwealth, everywhere,
great phalanxes of people, all with their rifles, hundreds of horses.
Although the Coronation provided a royal spectacle for both
the people on the streets and those watching at home,
it was a solemn, religious service, following a traditional pattern
laid out in the 14th century,
where the monarch takes the Coronation Oath
and is blessed with holy oil by Archbishop.
This is known as anointing.
The idea is that she's sort of set apart from the rest of us
and is anointed with oil to dedicate herself to God first
and to the people.
I heard that they couldn't...
They wouldn't be able to film the Queen actually being anointed. Why?
The church says this is the most sacred part of the ceremony
and somehow the most private - it's the Queen being anointed, committing
herself to God, that it shouldn't be seen, so traditionally it's
always had this canopy that is held over her so even the congregation
can't see it so it's meant to be a private part of the ceremony.
So that's why that was. And I guess it will stay like that.
For this private part of the ceremony,
the Queen's jewellery and cape were removed
and her royal gown covered with a simple white dress.
-Did you see the Queen actually being crowned?
We had a wonderful view.
And the other thing that we saw that very other few people
saw because it wasn't televised was the anointing
and they had any sort of canopy, didn't they, over the Queen?
As we were standing there, we had a wonderful view.
Marvellous. She was standing there in this long, white shift - cotton,
it looked like - and nothing on her head, no jewellery
and she looked like a little girl. It was very moving.
That was the moment that she gave herself to the nation
and to the Commonwealth and promised that she would, you know,
do her very, very best for the rest of her life.
The idea of a monarch was that he or she was God's appointed ruler.
That is at the very heart of the idea of monarchy.
Otherwise it would be more like a sort of president.
If you imagine you took God out of it all together
and you just had an inherited presidency, it would be a very
different kind of service so that idea...that idea of devotion
and duty and religious devotion is very powerful.
The most significant parts of the Coronation happened
while the Queen was seated in the Coronation chair.
This same throne has been used in Coronations for over 700 years.
King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria
have all sat in it.
It's only used for coronations
and the next person to officially take a seat in it will become
King or Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
To make sure it will withstand future coronations,
the chair has its own team of curators.
Aleem is meeting Marie Louise Sauerberg,
who is in charge of its restoration.
I thought it would be all gold. Why haven't they made it more grand?
That's a very good question.
I think it is because it is such a special chair.
There is something very mystic about it. It's where power meets religion.
It's a very powerful chair,
so nobody has actually done very much to it in terms of re-gilding it.
You could have thought that... thought it looked a bit tatty,
let's get some new gold on. Not actually they never did that.
They thought that it was perfect as it should be and that
every part of it is powerful in its own right and that is why...
Do you see on the front? There's little nicks in it, all the way down.
That's people with their penknives, taking little pieces of it and they
might have eaten it, they might have kept it in their pocket but they did
it because it was magic, because it was special, because it was powerful.
It's a very, very special chair.
So, would you have liked to have been Queen that day?
-I don't think so.
-I certainly wouldn't have.
Very, very frightening. But the Queen didn't look frightened at all.
-And I'm sure she wasn't.
It's a tremendous responsibility she had taken on her shoulders.
I mean, her life would never, never be the same again.
-We were full of admiration for her though, weren't we?
You know, she was so calm and so perfect, really.
-Never put a foot wrong the whole day.
-No, or ever, really.
I think people were so excited that suddenly
we had all this to celebrate, this lovely, beautiful, young queen
and it was the sort of start of a new Elizabethan age.
-I must say, it was the proudest day of my life.
-Yes, it was. Absolutely.
Today we are going to find out a little bit more about the Queen.
-So can any of you name any of the Queen's homes?
-To name but a few, yes.
But if you go up to Scotland you'll find the Palace of Holyrood House
and also Balmoral Castle.
But these days, the Queen likes to hang out in and around London.
This is Windsor Castle.
This is where she spends most of her weekends.
And Buckingham Palace has been the official London home
since 1837 when Queen Victoria became monarch.
But what happens behind these stately walls
and what are the Queen's duties when she is there?
We are about to find out.
The role of the Queen is a full-time job
and, for over 60 years, Queen Elizabeth II has
worked from her London home and office - Buckingham Palace.
The Palace has 800 staff to support the royal family.
Assisting the Queen with her duties
is the work of her private secretaries.
Saffron is meeting one of them, Samantha Cohen, to find out more
about what the Queen actually does on a day-to-day basis.
Usually at 11 o'clock in the morning, a private secretary brings
the Queen a red box full of papers.
It is really like the Queen's homework.
and the Queen has these red boxes 364 days a year so the only day,
really, when the Queen doesn't have any homework is Christmas day.
Every one of us moans about getting homework. Does the Queen moan?
The Queen really enjoys doing her homework because it is
so interesting, because every day there is something different
and every day there is information from different countries,
information about different people, and things are changing
all the time, and I think that's what makes her homework so interesting.
Communication is an essential part of the job
and not just with politicians and world leaders.
In one of Buckingham Palace's 775 rooms, Saffron is meeting
Celia Guy, who helps with the Queen's correspondence.
So, why is writing letters and communicating
so important to the Queen's role?
Anybody can write a letter to the Queen
and it's a way that people can directly be in touch
with their head of state so they are able to tell the Queen things
that are of concern to them or they might want to share
a story or tell them something about themselves.
How many letters does the Queen receive every day?
It can be, on a daily basis,
2 or 300 letters or indeed it could be into thousands.
In a normal, typical year,
the Queen probably receives about 60,000 pieces of post.
However, in special years, like for the Diamond Jubilee, that
number significantly increases and it went up to over 120,000 in that year.
One function of the monarch in the UK is to serve as
a figurehead for the nation.
It has been a part of the job description
since Queen Victoria's day.
But each monarch interprets the role in their own way.
The Queen's role evolves a little bit with modern times so the Queen,
because she has been Queen for 60 years,
is always slightly adapting the way she performs her duties
and one of the big changes has been technology.
Our Queen has a channel on YouTube and she uses Twitter.
Well, the Palace uses Twitter to communicate the Queen's activities.
Technology has changed the Queen does her work
but actually many things about the Queen's role
and her duties haven't changed very much from Queen Victoria.
If you look at something like a garden party, for example,
it was a very similar scene and the Queen would go
and meet with 8,000 people
right here in the gardens of Buckingham Palace,
so things like that haven't changed very much at all.
Aleem is joining Saffron to attend a special garden party being held in
the grounds of the Palace to honour the service of the Grenadier Guards.
Usually hosted by the Queen,
garden parties are traditional summer events.
Saffron is meeting the person responsible for ensuring the party
goes without a hitch,
Sir David Walker, Master Of The Household.
Buckingham Palace's garden parties are very famous.
Now, what is, actually, their purpose?
Well, it depends on the nature of the garden party.
I mean, the Queen holds four garden parties a year.
She has three at Buckingham Palace and one up in Scotland
at the Palace of Holyrood House
and essentially those garden parties are to recognise
people who have made a considerable contribution to public life.
Who decides who comes in?
The Queen is the patron of over 620 charities
so each of those charities - things like the Red Cross -
she will go to and say,
"Please, tell us who should come from the Red Cross."
Well, all of those people have made a significant contribution to
national life and to local life so I think all of them feel honoured
and very special to be here and for many it will be the only time
they come to Buckingham Palace
so they really want to make a very nice day of it.
Honouring significant achievements
is an important part of the monarch's job
and it's something our Queen devotes much of her time to.
It's important that the Queen gives people prizes for good work
because the Queen needs to celebrate people in this country who
have done a very good job in whatever profession they happen to be in.
It's important to inspire young people like you who want to
go on and do great things with their lives so the Queen invites them
to Buckingham Palace to give them special awards.
And tonight, the Queen is holding a very special reception.
As the guests arrive, our royal reporters talk to Caroline Evans
from the Royal Academy of Engineers to find out what it's all about.
What special event is happening tonight?
Tonight, the winners of the Queen Elizabeth Prize For Engineering
are going to receive their award
from Her Majesty the Queen here at Buckingham Palace.
This award celebrates an engineer or group of engineers for an outstanding
contribution to engineering that's been of benefit to humanity,
so we are celebrating people whose work has changed the world.
For the people who are coming today,
do you think it's important that the Queen cares?
Absolutely, because it is a mark of the utmost authority on the prize.
It's a lovely way of endorsing the quality of the prize, if you like.
Inside the palace, the Queen is making her entrance.
Aleem and Saffron get their first real chance to see her close up
as she welcomes her guests.
Tonight, the Queen specifically asked for young engineers
to be invited as they represent the future.
When the Queen invites people to come to Buckingham Palace to
celebrate their achievement,
she usually meets every one of them individually,
and that's important for the Queen
because she likes to talk to people and she likes to hear about
their stories and how they came to achieve these very important things.
-Mr Louis Pouzin, also for the internet.
The first ever Queen Elizabeth Prize For Engineering is being
awarded to the four people recognised
for their ground-breaking work that led to the creation of the internet.
I have every hope that this prize will be an aspiration
to the international engineering community
and an inspiration to young people everywhere.
Is that one of the Queen's official roles or
is that something she chooses to do?
The Queen doesn't have to do that
but she thinks it's very important to recognise people who've done
a good job or achieved something remarkable so the Queen has
just introduced this prize
and now it will continue on in the Queen's name
for future generations to enjoy.
Oh, it was really exciting when we were up there
because we were literally standing six steps away from the Queen.
People dream just to see her, give her a wave
and she actually went past us.
It was just amazing.
So, after their visit to Buckingham Palace,
have our reporters come to appreciate the duties
that the Queen performs?
So, I've got a better understanding of the Queen because you would think
she just sits on the throne and chillaxes and that but it's quite...
She does a lot of things. It's not her personal assistant.
She does most of the awards
and little things she's doing which really sure that she
cares about the UK and that's what I'm really proud of.
Today we're looking at a special aspect of the monarch's role
as head of the Commonwealth.
You've probably heard of the Commonwealth Games, one of
the biggest sporting events in the world, happens every four years.
-Have you ever seen it?
-Yeah, I love to watch the boxing.
-There you go.
The Commonwealth holds together two billion people across 54 nations.
It's one of the world's oldest associations of countries.
Can you name any Commonwealth countries?
Cyprus, Papua New Guinea.
Canada, Australia and Pakistan where my granddad was born.
You clearly know your stuff.
The Queen is the head of the Commonwealth.
It's a role she inherited from her father. In 1953,
when she was crowned, she swore an oath to the Commonwealth countries
and it's something she took very seriously.
In that same year, she embarked on her first tour of the Commonwealth,
travelling 43,000 miles, visiting 12 different countries,
most of which took place on a very special Royal craft.
Aleem is taking a trip to Leith in Edinburgh, home to the historic
Royal yacht Britannia. For 44 years, the Queen used this yacht to make
official overseas visits to every corner of the globe,
including the Commonwealth.
The Royal yacht Britannia was decommissioned in 1997 and began
a new life in Scotland as a tourist attraction. It's almost exactly as
the Queen left it.
It's weird because I thought it would be a lot bigger,
it's old-fashioned, but posh as well. But a lot different than I thought it would be.
When the Queen visited Commonwealth countries, she would invite their
heads of state and politicians on board, often holding
official dinners in the yacht's state dining room.
Brian Hoey is a royal biographer.
Before the Britannia ended her working life,
he spent a year sailing on board the yacht
to write a book about her history.
When the Queen was here and she had the heads of all the Commonwealth governments as guests here,
they'd have a big U-shaped table.
Do they have some sort of seating plan?
Of course they have a seating plan. And the Queen herself
supervises the seating plan. She has a wonderful system of doing it.
What the Queen does, she says the order of seniority, the person who
has been in office the longest, is the senior one. They get the best seats.
Why did she have a yacht? She could have had a private jet,
why did she travel by sea?
It's a floating palace. It was a place for her to have her
headquarters and she could invite people on board when they were there.
When the Queen was in residence, the Britannia had a crew of 220
yachtsmen. They lived below decks in far less luxurious accommodation
than the Royal family.
Chief Petty Officer Alistair Crozer worked on the yacht for four years
and travelled with the Queen on some of her Commonwealth visits.
-So, how is life different here to the Royals upstairs?
-The main difference
between the Royal household, etc, is space. In this area, we would have
in the region of 20 guys. We've got nine bunks here which you can see
goes into a little triangle here.
And once again they've got all their equipment. They have all their
uniforms, etc. And the locker, this locker here,
is one man's locker to carry all his gear.
So when you came across one of the people out of the royal families,
did you have to act in some way?
Protocol was that you stood still and bowed your head
and you didn't speak unless you're spoken to.
And that would be a very rare incident.
Did you ever get to meet the Queen?
Yes, I have. I mean, this is a highlight of my tour because
the Queen comes on the deck at the end of every tour, I was very
fortunate to have the honour of being asked a question by the Queen.
And it was absolutely...
-It's a nice picture, that.
When the Queen came to the throne in 1953, the Commonwealth had only
officially been in existence for four years. Formed largely of
countries that were part of the British Empire. At its peak,
Britain had the largest empire in history. Over 450 million people,
covering a quarter of the globe.
Gradually, Britain began giving independence back to the countries
in its empire. But many of them still wanted to maintain strong links with the UK.
So, the Commonwealth was created
and former Empire countries could choose whether or not
they wanted to be members.
15 of these countries, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand,
still have the Queen as their head of state, just like we do in the UK.
The heads of government for all the Commonwealth nations come together
every two years. Aleem and Saffron are meeting one of them,
the Queen's 12th Prime Minister, David Cameron.
How important is the role of the Queen to the Commonwealth?
Oh, I think she's hugely important to the Commonwealth,
and she cares deeply about the organisation.
It's an organisation that grew out of the end of the British Empire.
And now, the Commonwealth, as a modern organisation,
it covers billions of people around the world,
it's a club of countries that have ties to each other,
that have great respect for the Queen and the Royal family,
and that sign up to certain things like human rights,
belief in democracy and those things, have some common values.
I think in this modern, interconnected world,
it's good to be members of different organisations, and the Commonwealth
is a way for us to stay in touch with countries that we are all
friends with, like Canada or New Zealand, but also a network of
countries across Africa that still feel they have a relationship
together and with us.
So that way, I think the Commonwealth still has meaning
and I think we should make the most of it.
When they send the Queen over to Commonwealth countries, how is it
-different to sending the Prime Minister?
-What we have to remember is
the Queen is not a politician.
All the politicians have a policy of their government or their particular party. The Queen isn't.
And every member of the Commonwealth has the right of immediate access to the Queen, direct access,
they don't have to go through anybody else,
they don't have to go through the British Prime Minister or anybody else.
They can go straight to the Queen and she cherishes that.
They know that they can ask her anything, they can tell her anything
at all and they know that she will not betray their confidences,
whereas you wouldn't get that with a politician.
One thing I love about the Commonwealth is that it brings all these countries together as friends,
and what better way to celebrate that and to have a sporting event,
like the Commonwealth Games. You've all seen the Olympics.
You saw what happened with the Olympic torch, it travelled around the UK with athletes involved.
This is just like that except this is the Commonwealth Games baton
from 2002 when the games were here in Manchester.
This goes around the world, a much bigger journey. For a specific
reason, because it actually carries something quite cool.
Just take the top off and have a look inside there. And pull out what you can find.
So that is a message. See if you can see who it is from.
-Queen Elizabeth II.
Traditionally, the message within the baton begins life at Buckingham Palace
before finally arriving at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games,
having completed a journey through many of the Commonwealth countries.
The baton is then handed back to the Queen for her to read her personal message aloud.
You come from the world over - Africa, the Americas, Asia,
Australasia, Europe, all are represented tonight.
We can all draw inspiration from what the Commonwealth stands for -
our diversity as a source of strength,
our tradition of tolerance, requiring respect for others
and a readiness to learn from them.
Our focus on young people, for they are the future.
It is my pleasure, in this my Golden Jubilee year,
to declare the 17th Commonwealth Games open.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Today, we are finding out about the monarchy and the military. We are
used to seeing Prince William and Prince Harry in the uniforms, but
those uniforms aren't just for show, they are also part of their work.
-What jobs do the Princes have?
-They are both pilots.
Prince William is in the RAF, and Prince Harry is in the Army and he
-served in Afghanistan.
-They are both helicopter pilots. Prince William
flies with Search and Rescue in Anglesey in Wales. Prince Harry
flies an Apache helicopter,
but they could have picked any job in any industry.
We are now going to find out what makes the Armed Forces so special to the Royal family.
Saffron and Aleem are spending a day at the Royal Military Training Academy, Sandhurst.
To be an officer in the British Army, you have to graduate from here.
This is where both Prince Harry and Prince William began their military careers.
It's an intensive 44 weeks of training,
and Sandhurst is famous for being mentally and physically demanding,
including regular turns on the Academy's assault course.
I can't imagine Prince Harry and Prince William doing this.
It doesn't look like they go through that smelly water and just get up and out.
-And this is just one part of the tough army training regime
Prince Harry and Prince William experienced before graduating from
Sandhurst in 2006.
This is Capt Rupert Pye-Watson
and he attended Sandhurst at the same time as the Princes.
We're going to have massive difficulties if you can't get over a
-Everyone gets shouted at. Say Prince William or Prince Harry,
-could they answer back because they are royalty?
-They could probably
have tried, but I doubt it would have got them very far
because at the end of the day, everyone's in it together.
It's part of that whole character building, being shouted at
when you do something wrong. And therefore those people who don't
like being shouted at, obviously try not to do things wrong
so they don't get shouted out again.
Prince William and Prince Harry underwent the same training as every
other officer cadet at Sandhurst.
Everyone at Sandhurst, cadet-wise,
goes through exactly the same treatment.
The first five weeks are hard. on all the cadets.
Maybe four, maybe five hours sleep, if you are lucky, at night.
On the go from about 5.30 in the morning through to about midnight.
Lots of learning, learning how to march,
but ultimately there is no special treatment given to anyone.
What would the Princes have come here to learn?
The Princes would very much have come here to have learned things
like selfless commitment, respect for others, discipline, integrity.
Some of the core values of the Army which are instilled in the way
officers are taught and how officers are expected to carry out their
duties within the British Army.
Left, right. Left, right.
During their training, the Princes lived in the same basic dormitory accommodation
as their fellow cadets.
Aleem and Saffron are looking at the room of a current cadet, Sophie Kilpatrick.
It's quite small.
Cadets' rooms are regularly inspected to make sure
they meet the strict standards at Sandhurst.
This is exactly how they have to have the room laid out every morning
for room inspections. The bed is immaculate, tightly pulled, ironed
flat, the shoes highly polished.
Brass buckles immaculately clean as well.
Gloves clean, pillows ironed. Everything in the wardrobes
are immaculately laid out.
And hangers measured so the distance is equal throughout. The cadets have
to make sure every single room amongst the platoon of about 30 people is identical.
So would the Royals get in trouble if their room wasn't as tidy as it was meant to be?
If one person had a hanger slightly out of alignment,
the entire platoon would start again. You are very much in it together
to build the camaraderie and team spirit and teamwork.
Thank you, guys. It takes a long time to make my bed in the morning.
It has to be absolutely perfect. Who makes your bed at home?
Um, I don't even make mine.
-D'you think you should have a go?
Go on, I'll pull that out a bit and you can have a go at tidying it up.
Guys, you need to make sure you get the sheets really really tight,
-so there are no creases in them whatsoever.
-Is that good?
You have to pull it tight and make sure it's tucked in tightly.
It's hard, this. Especially when you are my age. Where do these go again? In the middle?
-No, there was a sheet.
-Yes, and the belt was in the middle.
It has to be fastened, he said.
In the middle.
-What you think of that?
-I would make you do that again.
I don't know why Prince William and Prince Harry choose to
come here rather than be at Buckingham Palace.
It's not the best of rooms, it's not a five-star hotel. But you need a
discipline to be in the Army and these people have a lot of discipline
and work hard and it's good because they work as a team,
because if one person does something wrong, we all have to do it again.
I like the idea, but I wouldn't like to sleep there. But it would probably change my personality in a way
and make me work harder for other stuff in life.
-And make you appreciate stuff.
As part of their training,
both Prince William and Prince Harry studied military history.
Professor Lloyd Clark is a lecturer in war studies,
who taught both the princes during their time at the Academy.
So why did Prince William and Harry choose a military career?
The Royal Family have got a very long history of being
part of the military.
The Queen herself, in the Second World War, was the first female
member of the Royal Family to serve full-time in the Armed Services.
Her husband, Prince Philip,
served throughout the Second World War and after in the Royal Navy.
Her sons all served in the Army or the Navy.
So it was almost logical that both princes William
and Harry would have some sort of a military career.
And, of course, Prince William, himself,
has served in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
Why did the princes swap from a really lovely life to
a really tough, physical life?
The Royals, obviously, have perhaps more privileges,
but I don't think their lives are easy.
I think that part of living what you might call a normal life
would be to take a decision that anybody
else in the country might take and to join the Armed Forces.
When they come here, I think that most of the young men
and women are looking for a challenge.
So, in the military you're risking your life,
so why did the princes choose this option?
I don't think the princes choose to risk their lives.
Risking their lives is just part of the job.
What they want to do is to serve. They have a duty to serve.
But, most importantly, they want to lead.
Any officer is there to lead other men and women.
When the Queen came to see Prince Harry graduate from Sandhurst,
a ceremony known as passing out,
she came not only as his grandmother,
but also in her official role as head of the Armed Forces,
a title long held by the king or queen of Great Britain.
The Queen is a grandmother of the two princes
and she is the head of the Armed Forces.
What does that actually mean?
The head of the Armed Forces is a role which is largely
a figurehead role.
She's the Head of State and the people of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland look to her for leadership
and also for a sense of moral values, you might say.
Therefore, she's the ideal person to have as the head of the military.
She represents the country.
And as a result of that, when troops go to fight,
they need someone that doesn't have any political bias.
She's not a member of a political party, like the Prime Minister is.
She unifies those people that fight
and she provides that focus for them perhaps when they go into battle.
Historically, that's always been the case.
The monarch would be someone who would often lead
troops on the battlefield.
The king would be much more likely to actually
lead from the front perhaps with his sword out on the back of a horse.
You could also think about the Battle of Hastings
when King Harold was shot and killed.
And, of course, the king that was going to take his place,
William the Conqueror, actually leading his troops in that same battle.
Queen Elizabeth I, just before the Spanish Armada,
didn't actually go onto a ship and fight,
but she gave great motivational speeches to her troops.
All of the motivation,
all of this morale that the monarch gives is an absolutely
central role, not only for all military leaders, but also
for that monarch that unifies the Armed Forces around that family.
Today, we're finding out about the heir to the throne,
Prince Charles, and his role as the Prince of Wales.
-Callum, you are a fine upstanding Welshman.
-Ydw, I am.
-What does that mean?
-Yes, I am.
-Good to know.
-So what does the Prince of Wales mean to you?
-He means quite a lot
because he's one of the only figureheads which Wales has
and because he's known all across the world, I guess
he kind of puts Wales on the map.
Do you know why he's called the Prince of Wales?
-No, but I've always wanted to know.
-I can tell you.
Prince Charles is the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II.
Traditionally, for around 800 years,
the eldest son of the monarch has been known as the Prince of Wales.
So, in 1969 when Prince Charles was just 20 years old, his mother,
the Queen, officially gave him this title in a very elaborate
ceremony at Caernarfon Castle in Wales.
But what is his role as the Prince of Wales? We're about to find out.
Aleem and Saffron are in London to experience some of the Prince's
While Callum is spending the day as a royal correspondent following the Prince and his wife,
the Duchess of Cornwall, on an official tour of Wales.
First stop, the set of the popular Saturday night drama, Doctor Who.
As you can see, there is quite a lot of Press here already.
I've got my Press pass and I'm ready for the day.
His Royal Highness has just arrived
and I'm standing literally just a few metres from him.
This is one of over 500 engagements
the Prince will have in the UK this year.
One journalist Callum is rubbing shoulders with is BBC newsman,
Nicholas Witchell, a royal correspondent for 15 years.
Because of his title, does that mean he has to focus on Wales?
If you are the Prince of Wales, it seems only reasonable
and right that you should take a particular interest in that
part of the country whose name you bear.
Doctor Who is produced here in Wales, it produces a lot of jobs
and employment and wealth in Wales as a result of that.
And because it is 50 years now since Doctor Who started,
it's another way of the Prince of Wales coming along and showing
some recognition for what the BBC, through Doctor Who,
is doing for Wales.
Exterminate. Exterminate, exterminate.
That's very good.
After the Doctor Who set,
the tour moves onto a place close to the Prince's heart.
Like all the Royal Family,
the Prince is heavily involved in charity work
and today he's officially opening a new centre for one that
he personally founded - the Prince's Trust.
May I present Nathan?
Nathan Dicks who started his business in 2008, Learning-Thru-Music.
This is just one charity in a whole group that bear the Prince's name
and reflect the causes he feels most strongly about,
like disadvantaged youth, education, responsible business
and environmental sustainability.
Why does the Prince of Wales have to take on these duties,
why does he have to go and visit places
and organisations like the Prince's Trust?
He does it in part to raise the profile,
to raise these issues with a wider audience.
In some instances, he does it because part of the role of the Royal Family
is to show approval for organisations and for what voluntary groups do.
It's a way of giving people a bit of a pat on the back, which,
generally, people rather like.
Prince Charles cares deeply about doing something
positive for the country.
Although his title is Prince of Wales,
he travels the whole country fulfilling engagements.
Royal reporters Saffron and Aleem are in the capital to
experience another important day in the Prince's busy calendar.
Saffron is meeting Major Peter Flynn,
he's one of the Prince's personal attendants,
known as an equerry, but he is also an army officer
and can explain the purpose behind today's military ceremony.
Could you please tell us about the event that's happening today?
Today, the Prince of Wales is going to give some
operational service medals to members of the Royal Dragoon Guards.
The Royal Dragoon Guards are one of the Prince's regiments.
He has 22 regiments
and military organisations across the three services.
Whenever they've been on operations,
let's say for example at the moment it's Afghanistan,
he's very keen when they come back to try
and give them their medals, particularly to the new
and young soldiers who've probably been out there for the first time.
Is this a new ceremony or is it an old ceremony?
When I first joined the Army many, many years ago,
we used to be given our medals across the desk in the stores,
but in recent times,
it seems that members of the Royal Family have really wanted to
show their support and thanks to the troops by giving them the medals themselves.
You'll see him going down the line, presenting the medals and having a chat to the troops.
What he'll do afterwards is he'll go and meet the families.
He knows how important it is that we show support to
the families as well and he loves talking to them.
Today's events are happening in the grounds of the Prince's London home, Clarence House.
This Royal house is small in comparison to the Queen's palaces,
and has been home to the Prince and his family since 2002.
They don't normally open the door for me when I walk into a room!
Clarence House is not just a home, it's a workplace, and while
the Prince is busy outside with his guests,
Aleem and Saffron are meeting his house manager, Leslie Chappell,
for a quick tour of its rarely seen rooms.
The Prince will use this room this afternoon
when he receives the President of Belize.
He'll bring the President here.
There'll be an official photograph taken over there.
Then the Prince will take a seat on the corner of the sofa there, ask the President to sit next to him
and they'll have a private audience in here.
-Who else has been in this room?
-The Prince of Wales and Duchess have received the Dalai Lama in here,
Will.i.am. Will.i.am sat just there on the sofa there.
And you'll see over here, if you look at these
photographs on the piano, you've got the whole of the Royal Family here,
photographed in this room for the Queen
and the Duke of Edinburgh's diamond wedding anniversary in 2007.
There seems to be a lot of things going on in this building,
is it a busy place?
It is a busy place, yes.
The Prince and Duchess are here for about a third of the year,
so just over a hundred days of the year.
On those days, we have days like today with the medal presentation
going on outside in the garden for 350 people, we had a meeting
this morning for 22 people followed by a reception for 60.
As I said, the Prime Minister of Belize is coming in later on
and the Prince of Wales is then going next door
into St James's Palace to host another reception.
So, quite a normal day.
So how does the Prince of Wales's engagements differ to
those of the Queen?
A very important part of what Prince Charles does is to
deputise for his mother.
He is doing that increasingly,
he's presiding over investitures at Buckingham Palace,
he'll be standing in for his mother
at a big meeting of Commonwealth leaders later this year.
Is this all in preparation to be King?
Yes, his destiny is to be King, to take over the throne
when his mother's reign ends.
So, in a sense, everything that he's done or does is a preparation for that moment.
At Buckingham Palace, Aleem and Saffron have been invited to
attend a special ceremony the Queen usually performs.
But today, it's a job for the heir to the throne.
-What was the ceremony about today?
-Today, we saw an investiture.
That's when the Queen awards honours to people who've done good works
throughout the community and in society.
Sometimes the Queen will ask the Prince of Wales or
the Princess Royal to do it,
and so today we saw the Prince of Wales doing the investiture.
Is it compulsory for the Queen
and the Prince of Wales to give these honours out?
I wouldn't so much regard it as compulsory.
I think the word you might want to use is duty.
They very much feel that it's their duty to do this,
to support the nation and thank people for doing good works.
These award include knighthoods and damehoods, CBEs, OBEs and MBEs.
They're often given to ordinary people who do extraordinary things
for their communities,
but many famous faces regularly receive these honours as well.
Today the Prince is presenting one to Star Wars actor, Ewan McGregor.
I received an OBE, this one here, look,
for work that I do for drama and also I work with a charity called UNICEF.
And double Olympic gold medal-winning athlete, Mo Farah.
Do you think it's important the Royal Family gives awards like this?
It's really important for people who are working hard,
not just myself, in all kinds of fields like community services,
charity work, athletics, acting, pretty much everything.
It's a great reward.
Each year, around 2,600 people receive their awards
personally at one of the palaces.
It's a day out to remember for every one of them.
WELSH CHOIR SINGS
In Wales, Callum's day of engagements with the Prince
is ending at His Royal Highness's Welsh home with an evening
celebrating Welsh culture.
It's an informal gathering
and a chance to finally meet the Royal hosts.
The music here, is that what you enjoy,
the folk and the tradition, is it a huge tradition?
It's lovely because everybody can sing. Sadly I can't.
No, it's lovely. It's lovely hearing the voices.
What do you enjoy most about Wales?
Here, I love the peace and quiet.
You hear nothing except the odd sheep munching away outside
and the odd bird, it's very peaceful.
It's the beauty, I think.
Hello, your Royal Highness. It's nice to meet you.
He's working for the BBC doing a film about the monarchy, Sir.
-Yes, so I went to the Doctor Who set today
-and the Prince's Trust event in Cardiff.
-Were you there today?
Yeah, I was in the Doctor Who set and the Cardiff headquarters
and I saw you unveiling the plaque, as well. It was absolutely amazing.
-And tonight, the folk...
-This is rather marvellous, isn't it?
-Do you know a bit of Welsh?
-A little bit.
-Like bore da.
I never keep it up in practice.
I try. Anyway, I look forward to seeing how it goes.
-Thank you very much.
-A great pleasure to meet you. Well done.
Pleasure to meet you too.
That was absolutely amazing. This has topped off the whole experience.
It's basically put a lid on it.
After following Prince Charles on his engagements,
our reporters have really got a sense of his role and
the range of duties he performs as the Prince of Wales, heir to the throne.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Featuring archive and unique behind-the-scenes access, this compilation of short films sees a team of young reporters investigate the role of the modern monarchy in the United Kingdom, exploring everything from the relationship with parliament and the military to the inside story of the Queen's coronation.