Cracroft's Peerage
The Complete Guide to the British Peerage & Baronetage


Long ago I decided that if at all possible Cracroft's Peerage should be a web-based genealogical resource that is free to all users. However, it costs over 1,000 a month to keep Cracroft's Peerage going.  The harsh reality is that over the years I have paid out a lot of my own money to fund the website as well as carrying out field visits for on-site research and acting as an unpaid knowledge expert.  There will shortly come a time when I will be forced to consider closing down Cracroft's Peerage due to dwindling resources.  If this happens then an awful lot of dedicated hard work will be lost to you.  So, if your visit has been worthwhile or has been of professional benefit, then please consider making a donation, however small, to The Peerage Research Trust. This is the charitable side of Cracroft's Peerage and exists to sponsor academic research into peerage and related matters as well as to raise funds so that I can continue to maintain and develop Cracroft's Peerage. To make a donation, please click on the "Donate" button below.

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The British Monarchy



The Official Coronation Photograph of HM Queen Elizabeth II by the late Cecil Beaton


The Royal Family

Seize Quartiers of the Kings and Queens

The Queens's Household in England

The Queen's Household in Scotland

Royal Palaces and Residences

Royal Titles

The Order of Succession

The Queen's Representatives

Royal Salutes

The National Flag


Britain is one of the oldest surviving monarchies in the world. Queen Elizabeth II can trace her ancestors back to Cerdic, who founded the Saxon Kingdom of Wessex in AD 519 on the English side, and on the Scottish side to Alpin, who died in 834 and is regarded as the founder of the Scottish monarchy. She can also show lines of descent from the Kings of Thomond and other Irish kings and from various princely families in Wales.


Britain is a constitutional monarchy. The United Kingdom or British constitution is not contained in any single document but has evolved in the course of time, formed partly by statute, partly by common law and partly by convention. The United Kingdom is governed by Ministers of the Crown in the name of the Sovereign, who is Head both of the State and of the Government.


There are three organs of government: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The Legislature consists of the two Houses of Commons, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, formally referred to as the High Court of Parliament. The Executive consists of HM Government (Cabinet and other Ministers), government departments, local authorities, and public corporations operating nationalised industries or social or cultural services. The Judiciary pronounces on the law, both written and unwritten, interprets statutes and is responsible for the enforcement of the law; the Judiciary is independent of both the Legislature and the Executive, although the senior judges also sit in the Legislature and the executive head of the Judiciary, the Lord High Chancellor, is a senior Cabinet Minister.


The Sovereign personifies the state and is, in law, an integral part of the legislature, head of the executive, head of the judiciary, the commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the Crown and the "Supreme Governor" of the Church of England. The seat of the monarchy is in the United Kingdom. In the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which are Crown dependencies, the Sovereign is represented by a Lieutenant-Governor. In the member states of the Commonwealth of which the Sovereign is head of state, her representative is a Governor-General; in United Kingdom dependences ("the Colonies") the Sovereign is usually represented by a Governor, who is responsible to the British Government.


Last updated 3 July 2012



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