Let’s start with the head of the royal family: Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen’s calendar is filled with various activities known by the catch-all term “engagements.”
Engagements include hosting heads of state, taking diplomatic trips, throwing parties at palaces, opening new sessions of Parliament, presenting citizens with awards, and a whole bunch more.
The Telegraph reported that the Queen carried out 341 engagements in 2015 — more than Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate combined. Pretty impressive for a 90-year-old woman.
The Queen must be neutral in all political matters and can’t vote, but she does have a ceremonial role in the UK government. She opens each session of Parliament in person, and has visits with the Prime Minister as well as other world leaders. Any legislation passed by Parliament must also get the Queen’s stamp of approval (technically known as Royal Assent) before becoming law. It’s mostly a formality, though: No monarch has refused to give Royal Assent since 1707, when Queen Anne refused a bill that would have recreated the Scottish militia after England and Scotland were formally unified.
She also personally presents citizens with titles of honor. Yes, that includes becoming a knight like Elton John or a dame like Helen Mirren — but there’s a slew of other honors for achievements in the military, science, and more.
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