Talk:Elizabeth II

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 Definition The present monarch and head of state of the United Kingdom since 1952 (born 1926). [d] [e]
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The statement "In none of these offices does she hold any formal political power." is not quite correct. At least in the UK, but also in Australia, there are some vestigial formal powers. As far as I recollect, the monarch in the UK invites a leader of a political party to form a governent, but she is not required to choose the party with the most seats. This discretion has yet to be misused, but remains as a formal power. In the case of Australia, unless it has changed without my noticing, the monarch appoints a Governor-General as her representative: presumably, s/he has a few roles to play and therefore has some limited powers.

Can we find someone who knows about constitutional issues to rephrase these things? Some Editors, maybe?--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 22:10, 23 July 2007 (CDT)

I will check this, but my understanding is she has no power - she appoints people on the advice of the prime minister or other figure, i.e. effectively these posts are filled by the governments. It is true that no law says she has to pick the biggest party to form a government - because the UK constitution works by precedent and convention - but she arguably has no authority to do so since the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary sovereignty in the 17th century. John Stephenson 23:00, 24 July 2007 (CDT)
Further to this, I think the idea is that because parliament is supreme, the Sovereign is obligated to appoint whoever is most likely to command the support of the House of Commons - even if their party be in a minority. This happened with Harold Wilson in 1974. If she didn't appoint the PM with most support, parliament would be able to topple her choice through a no-confidence vote. Also, in the past it was technically possible for the Sovereign to sack a prime minister - apparently this last happened in the 1830s - but in practice it would be very unlikely to happen today, since there is so little precedent for it. The UK doesn't really work through laws written in stone; rather, there's a sort of collective expectation about what's 'the done thing'... John Stephenson 23:07, 24 July 2007 (CDT)
The problem is with the expression "formal political power". What you have described above is actual practice, but if the monarch chooses to part with recent precedent this departure would be lawful. In particular, the appointment of a prime minister is solely within the monarch's purview and in certain cases the evaluation of which party would command most support could be a subjective view. Even in other cases, the fact is that the monarch possesses "formal political power", however s/he should choose to exercise it. I suggest that you remove the phrase completely, and talk about the lack of a written constitution and reliance upon precedent, whilst formally and ceremonially the monarch has supreme political authority as Head of State.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 06:32, 25 July 2007 (CDT)
There is one relatively recent semi-precedent for the Queen sacking a PM: the little unpleasantness in Australia in 1975, when the Governor-General, wielding the Head of State's power but apparently without having consulted the Queen at all on the matter, sacked Gough Whitlam. As I recall from news reports at the time, when the Queen did find out about it, she deliberately kept well away from the whole issue, and the action was so unpopular that the Governor-General had to retire from public service. Bruce M.Tindall 16:46, 28 August 2007 (CDT)
I think that does not apply in the UK [although I am not 100% sure]. The Oz incident is because the Governor General [representing the Queen] actually has more power there than the Queen does in the UK...--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 17:20, 28 August 2007 (CDT)

Purpose of this article

Hi, regarding Martin's edit: ""...Nevertheless, there remain doubts in some quarters about specific discretions, such as choosing a prime minister, which are not necessarily constrained by precedent or constitutional limitations..." I don't object to the content, but I think we may be digressing here. Maybe such detail belongs on an article such as Monarchy of the United Kingdom or constitutional monarchy, as this article should really focus on Liz's life. John Stephenson 21:46, 25 July 2007 (CDT)

If you want to remove that part completely, that is fine by me. Perhaps when there is an actual article to refer to, such as Monarchy of the UK or const. monarchy you could link to them. My only complaint was that the summary was potentially misleading, and you can solve that by giving the detail as I did, or omitting it completely. If you feel it is irrelevant to the article, just remove it! --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 21:56, 25 July 2007 (CDT)


I deleted: "The Queen is known to be a practising Christian, regularly attending Anglican church services." This is obvious, because she's the head of the Anglican church. Indeed, if she were not, she couldn't be monarch. Perhaps an allusion to her Christianity can be added somewhere? John Stephenson 22:58, 20 September 2007 (CDT)

Quick question: that's obvious to you and me--is it equally obvious to everyone? Lots of people in the secular world end up heading institutions they might not be otherwise be members of or part of. Still, if you think it is obvious, that's fine. Aleta Curry 19:43, 13 November 2007 (CST)
Hmm, it's like asking if the Pope has to be Catholic! If people can't work it out, then they won't find much use for an encyclopedia anyway.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 19:49, 13 November 2007 (CST)
No it isn't--stop picking on me!! The Pope has to be a priest, a priest has to be RC. The Queen's not a priest, and the head of the NY Yankees doesn't have to be a ball player. That's all I'm saying. "If people can't work it out.." oh, jeepers, Martin--like, if you're a royal watcher, you know how much people work out about them that's just wrong! Aleta Curry 20:03, 13 November 2007 (CST)

Not picking on you:-( How can anyone be the Head of a Church without belonging to that Church? It doesnt make sense! --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 10:00, 14 November 2007 (CST)

The text in question says she is a PRACTICING member of the Church--something rather rare in England these days when attendance at rituals is 2%. Richard Jensen 06:31, 15 November 2007 (CST)
Again, I repeat that this is a requirement of the position. Hwoever, if everyone insists that it is not obvious, I will allow you to state the "bleeding obvious"--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 06:43, 15 November 2007 (CST)
the point is that she goes well beyond what is required because she beleives and follows the religion; that is NOT required. Richard Jensen 06:49, 15 November 2007 (CST)
She APPEARS to beleive and follow the religion, which is part of her job. I cannot imagine otherwise. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 07:33, 15 November 2007 (CST)
well I can imagine otherwise: "Paris is worth a Mass" is what Henry IV, a Protestant said on becoming king of France and having to become a Catholic. Richard Jensen 16:54, 15 November 2007 (CST)
Okay, I inadvertently started this because I confused two separate issues--I think. I was speaking to John's statement above, when I asked what was "obvious"--because to me "Supreme Governor" is not the same as "chief priest", which is obviously a practitioner, hence the NY Yankee boss comparison. John said "indeed, if she were not, she could not be monarch" and I was asking would people know that the monarch of the UK *had* to be an Anglican, not "would people know that the head of the Anglican church was an Anglican". Still, Richard's point is well-taken, there's a difference between someone who actually follows a faith and someone who was initiated in babyhood and never follows any of the tenants of that faith. Psst...Martin...I know you're not really picking on me :) Aleta Curry 19:00, 15 November 2007 (CST)
well to mess it up a little more: Is it in fact true that she is a devout person? There is no mention of that whatever in Pimlott's long and detailed bio. Richard Jensen 19:10, 15 November 2007 (CST)

Haha, you are impossible, Richard! I really have no idea, and this was my point. We should have no idea, because the Queen's personal opinion does not obtrude [this is partly her own character, and partly her perception of the role of Monarch]. It is also important to bear in mind why the Church of England exists: it was created by Henry VIII after his excommunication by Rome. Even if the Monarch thinks God is a waste of time, the role of joint head of the Church does not allow any room for personal opinion. It is very different from being King of France and being expected to be a Catholic.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 19:20, 15 November 2007 (CST)

Just had an edit conflict with Martin--what was I saying? I don't know if I can answer that--if your question (Richard) is, "well, Elizabeth may go to church, but is she *really* a Christian?" Certainly, Ingrid Majesty Magazine Seward is always going on about the Queen's faith getting her through things. Some Diana fans|fanatics raked the poor old girl over the coals for "taking/dragging/forcing Wm & Harry to go" to church following the death of their mother. (Where was she supposed to take them, for Mercy's sake--Disneyland?) Or is your question "does Elizabeth go to church'? Aleta Curry 20:31, 15 November 2007 (CST)


Surely HRH The Duchess of York became HM immediately her husband ascended to the throne? Aleta Curry 18:16, 18 December 2007 (CST)

No. Just as Prince Philip is not a king, she was never Queen and remained with the title she took from her husband before his accession to the throne. The only change after George VI was crowned is that she was given the additional title Her Royal Highness [HRH] in front of the previous title. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 18:45, 18 December 2007 (CST)

I'm truly surprised, 'cause I'm good with titles. I would have blown the million-dollar question. In any case, that's not completely analogous, because in England female consorts are always called Queen, while male consorts are never called "King" (at least, not yet!) I think the note should speak to this in some manner. I'm amazed. I'm heading right to the official site to see if it's explained there. Aleta Curry 21:52, 18 December 2007 (CST)

"she was never queen" is contradicted by the official website at [1] which clearly calls her "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother." The definitive Oxford Dictionary of National Biography calls her "queen of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British dominions beyond the seas, sometime empress of India, consort of George VI, later styled Queen Elizabeth the queen mother," and says "The new king and queen moved into Buckingham Palace in February 1937 and were crowned on 12 May in Westminster Abbey. Significantly, Elizabeth's throne on that occasion was placed level with the king's." After her husband died: "a visit to the former queen at Balmoral in the aftermath of her bereavement from Winston Churchill, prime minister again, may have assisted her in finding a new role in British life as the queen mother, a title she adopted at this point, and by which she was known universally for the next fifty years. (Courtiers in her own household referred to her as Queen Elizabeth, which she reportedly found more pleasing.)" Other books of course had the title: E. Longford, The queen mother (1981) · P. Mortimer, Queen Elizabeth: a life of the queen mother (1986) · A. Morrow, Without equal: her majesty Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother (2000) · G. Talbot, The Country Life book of Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother, 3rd edn (1989) · H. Montgomery-Massingberd, Her majesty Queen Elizabeth the queen mother (2001). So that seems to settle the issue: she was a Queen.Richard Jensen 22:47, 18 December 2007 (CST)
Not at all. If she had been Queen, her title would have been Queen Elizabeth II. And the current Queen would be Elizabeth III. Informally, she may have been seen as the Queen, but clearly that was never her title. She was later known as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. She was a queen by virtue of being the consort of the King, but as far as I know she was called HRH The Duchess of York as her formal title, until the later one of the Queen Mother. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 05:08, 19 December 2007 (CST)
Martin--please cite your sources. The standard reference work (Dict National Bio) in the very first line calls her "queen of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British dominions beyond the seas, sometime empress of India, consort of George VI, later styled Queen Elizabeth the queen mother," -- the multiple books cited call her Queen, as does the official UK Palace website, and no no one calls her Dutchess of York. 05:32, 19 December 2007 (CST)

OK, it is not correct that she remained hte Duchess of York, as she acceded to the throne jointly with the Duke of York. What is important is the difference between being Queen and Queen Consort. This is why she was not called Elizabeth II. Here is a useful citation:

When King Edward VIII abdicated on 11 December 1936 to marry an American divorcée, the accession of the Duke and Duchess was proclaimed and they assumed the responsibilities of the throne.
Their coronation took place on 12 May 1937. Queen Elizabeth became the first British-born Queen Consort since Tudor times.

Source: --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 06:28, 19 December 2007 (CST)

alas that source is wrong. DNB again: "Mary [Princess Mary of Teck] (1867–1953), queen of Great Britain and Ireland, and the British dominions beyond the seas, and empress of India, consort of George V, was born in Kensington Palace on 26 May 1867." Richard Jensen 07:14, 19 December 2007 (CST)

I am not sure if it matters anyway; the important thing for this article is that she was Queen Consort. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 07:56, 19 December 2007 (CST)

agreed -- but it is a shock to see the Brits get their own royalty wrong. Richard Jensen 07:58, 19 December 2007 (CST)
Well, this royal watcher says it most certainly does matter;) and Richard, Brits get their own royalty wrong all the time, because titles and styles are so complicated. Re Mary of Teck, Richard, they may be referring to the fact that, since she took her title from her father, she was not "British-born"? (That's only a question, since I've no idea what the rules for citizenship would have been)--they may just be plain wrong.
Anyhow, back to the issue at hand. Martin, I'm going to change your last edit. A British queen is always HM these days, hasn't been HRH for centuries.
Aleta Curry 16:16, 19 December 2007 (CST)

OK. I give up with all this: if the government website cannot be relied upon, who can? Martin Baldwin-Edwards 17:12, 19 December 2007 (CST)


Following CZ naming policy for royals this article should be Elizabeth II (there is no other Elizabeth II and no disambig is needed; it there WAS another the policy would call for "Elizabeth II (Britain)"). Richard Jensen 12:35, 21 May 2008 (CDT)

I have discovered some page-moving stuff that can be activated from URL's, so I'm looking into doing a 'move cluster' function. I'll do this one when it's working. J. Noel Chiappa 19:57, 21 May 2008 (CDT)
Unless people think 'Elizabeth II' could be the name of a ship... John Stephenson 05:04, 22 May 2008 (CDT)
well there are lots of things named after Henry VIII -- movies, plays, books, pubs. Nobody mistakes them for Henry himself. In this case most readers right away will tell the difference between the woman and the ship. (the 2nd QE2 ship is named after the first QE ship which was named after her mother) :) Richard Jensen 07:24, 22 May 2008 (CDT)
Without knowing about this discussion I came across Victoria and boldly moved it to Victoria of the United Kingdom because of possible confusion with future Victoria articles. I do think it is a good idea to keep the titles of royalty in the format of the present Elizabeth II and now Victoria articles for consistency's sake. There might not be much confusion between this queen and other Elizabeths the second but in the case of Victoria there certainly is with Victoria, Australia and Victoria, BC coming to mind. People searching the term Victoria would then see a redirect page directing them to whatever Victoria they want, including the queen. Personally, I think Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom has a better ring to it than Elizabeth II (Britain). Elizabeth II could also be useful in directing people who are searching for something called Elizabeth II but are not quite sure what it is they are looking for. Just my 2¢. --Michael Geldorp 11:11, 31 May 2008 (CDT)
Please don't move articles! There are no other Victorias and her name and title is now incorrect. Richard Jensen 13:56, 31 May 2008 (CDT)
I do think eventually that Victoria will have to be a dab page, but the problem is that we haven't really finalized a naming system for royalty, so for the moment there's no definitive answer as to what her page might be titled (or identified - and they might be separate, if an idea of mine gets adopted). So let's just leave it be for the moment, until we figure out for definite what we're doing with royalty.... J. Noel Chiappa 14:54, 31 May 2008 (CDT)
there is no need for a disambig since there is only one Elizabeth II. The title is currently a bad one that does not fit CZ practices. As for formal policies they will take years at the rate we are not moving. So let's just use "Elizabeth II" Richard Jensen 16:22, 31 May 2008 (CDT)
Well, there is the liner QEII... J. Noel Chiappa 18:12, 31 May 2008 (CDT)
people interested in ships willdiscover their mistake by the third paragraph! The liner QE2 was names after the first ship "Queen Elizabeth" which in turn was named after the mother of the current queen. The name of the ship is "Queen Elizabeth 2" not "Elizabeth II". Richard Jensen 18:47, 31 May 2008 (CDT)
reset margin
For what it's worth, I agree Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is a horrible title. I'm just dithering between Elizabeth II (Britain) and Elizabeth II because I hate renaming articles (it's a pain - in addition to moving all the subpages, you also have to fix all the redirects), and so I want to make sure there's no chance we'd ever want it at Elizabeth II (Britain) before I elimintate that one. J. Noel Chiappa 22:10, 31 May 2008 (CDT)
there is no other person names Elizabeth II. Nor is there likely to be one soon, so there is no need for the Britain tag. Richard Jensen 22:16, 31 May 2008 (CDT)
There is no such entity as Britain, so you may not use that. It is either the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or UK. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 00:16, 1 June 2008 (CDT)
there is no entity of UK or United Kingdom either. I recommend we not use any of these in the title.Richard Jensen 01:12, 1 June 2008 (CDT)
The UK is a legal entity. I don't know what you are talking about. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 06:52, 1 June 2008 (CDT)
While one can argue whether "Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom" is a good title or not, I do believe something other than just "Elizabeth II" is in order for consistency's sake. Other British monarchs may cause confusion with royalty from other countries as there may very well be more than one place where they have had a number of kings named George, Charles or something else where disambiguation is in order. Isn't it better to have a uniform naming convention then for monarchs? For example, "Name (country X)" or "Name of Country X" instead of having a mixed bag of "Name I (country X)", "Name II (country X)", "Name III", ... I also repeat my earlier point that the page "Elizabeth II" could serve as a good place to point people in the direction of various things called "Elizabeth II (X)"
If "of the United Kingdom" isn't what we want we could go for something like "Elizabeth II (House of Windsor)" perhaps? --Michael Geldorp 12:05, 1 June 2008 (CDT)
I think Prof. Jensen's point is that there is nothing/nobody else with the name "Elizabeth II" (other than the liner), and so we don't need to make allowances for any possible future collision.
There is something to be said for consistency, but as long as page-identifiers and article-titles are the same string, I thing the advantages of "Elizabeth II" as an article title outweigh the disadvantages of the inconsistent naming - sigh. J. Noel Chiappa 12:35, 1 June 2008 (CDT)
yes I agree with Noel. Here's a suggested principle: avoid disambiguation when it is not necessary. Reason: the disambiguation code fools people into thinking there must be other people named Elizabeth II. We do not want to mislead readers. (the ship has a different name--"Queen" is part of its name and it uses 2 not II. "Queen" is a title for the woman but is not part of her name.) In CZ practice we use article titles like George I (Britain) only when necessary. In history articles we use (Britain), (France) etc. so that readers will not think the person's name is "George II of Britain". Richard Jensen 14:25, 1 June 2008 (CDT)
I do wish you would stop referring to a non-existent country called Britain. It is journalistic and wrong. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 18:02, 1 June 2008 (CDT)
Martin--I'm a professional historian and we all call the country Britain. It's the TV broadcasters and sociologists who use UK because it's shorter and acronymic. :) Richard Jensen 18:54, 1 June 2008 (CDT)
And 'United Kingdom' is what it says on UK passports. Back to the article: I still think there are grounds for confusion over calling this Elizabeth II. I can point to a weak example: the semi-myth that the play The Madness of George III was renamed The Madness of King George for the film over fears people would think it was a second sequel. :) This is declared 'false' by debunkery website, but they do admit there's a grain of truth to it. John Stephenson 22:11, 1 June 2008 (CDT)
well George III in fact was a sequel, and we have the article on George II to prove it. There was a great movie about the Queen a couple years back, and maybe there will be a sequel. I hope so. Richard Jensen 22:21, 1 June 2008 (CDT)
Clearly,. professional historians do not uinderstand law. There are many different configurations of the country/territory from which I originate, but there is only one that has the status of full sovereignty in international law. That is the UK [short title] which is why it issues the passports. The term "Britain" has no meaning at all, other than as an informal contraction of Great Britain [thus excluding Northern Ireland]. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 02:51, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
No. In fact UK, United Kingdom and Britain are all abbreviations of the long formal "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland." Historians always prefer Britain to refer to the country, with British and Briton the natural spinoffs. And Martin is wrong about his own passport: it uses the long formal name, not UK. Richard Jensen 04:32, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
Britain and UK may be synonymous for some informally, but we should certainly avoid using 'Britain' to refer to the whole of the UK (see the rows over at Talk:United Kingdom because, as has been repeated here and elsewhere, it excludes Northern Ireland - which is part of the same state as England, Wales and Scotland and is an area over which the Queen is Head of State. We can't really use 'Britain' in titles - there's no 'British Parliament', no 'British law', etc., except as short ways of referring to the UK Parliament, etc. John Stephenson 05:53, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
Britain, UK and United Kingdom are all abbreviations for the exact same formal name (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Historians have a strong --near unanimous--preference for Britain (which also provides the useful words British and Briton). The Term "British Parliament" is often used see examples in 900+ book titles dating from 1800 to the present. The uses include the finest journals and publishers in Britain. (the law is different in England and Scotland, so we keep those separate.) None of the critics has produced any evidence that Britain is unacceptable--who says so???? Richard Jensen 06:12, 2 June 2008 (CDT)

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Y'all will excuse me if I mostly stay out of this one. 'Just for grins', I just checked, and my passport does indeed say "UK of GB & NI". I personally don't see the harm in using 'Britain/British/Briton' ('UKian'? 'UKish'? What is the short adjectival form anyway?) Nobody, but nobody, is going to mistake that for some other country, and we're all well aware of the complex history by which various parts have been added to (and subtracted from) the state over the last 1000 years, and in fact if you want a term to describe that polity over that time period, "United Kingdom" isn't so hot because that's a 'relatively' recent term too. J. Noel Chiappa 07:05, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
PS: My passport also describes me as a "British Subject". J. Noel Chiappa 07:10, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
To clarify. I suggest the article works best under the title "Elizabeth II" -- that is a unique personal name and no disambig is called for. No one will be misled and that is the name everyone uses. (there is not even a "Queen Bess" in her case). Martin obviously dislikes the term "Britain" and we AGREE that it should not be used on this article. Richard Jensen 07:11, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
Well, my comments were specifically on appending (Britain) to any article, not on whether some clarification or disambiguation is needed on this specific one. To reply to Noel's point, the current international and domestic legal and political structure of what is loosely known as Britain is the result of history. If the historians don;t understand this, then I doubt that they can understand history properly. It does matter, too: although we have a loose understanding of what we mean by "British" and "Briton", anyone researching or publishing seriously on these issues will quickly learn the limitation of these words. Are people from Isle of Man or Jersey to be called British? What about Northern Irish? What about migrants from Pakistan and elsewhere who hold a second-class sort of British passport that doesn't entitle them to live in the UK? Legally, there is no such place; politically there is no such place; culturally, we think there is such a place, but... The solution is to avoid it whenever possible. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 11:30, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
I am more than fully aware of the complex and transitory nature of British citizenship arrangements, since my filing cabinet holds passports that successively designate me as a British Subject who is a "Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies", a "British Dependent Territories Citizen", and now a "British Overseas Territories citizen". I am also fully cognizant of the changing fortunes those changes have meant for people with those designations, in terms of their Right of Abode in the UK.
So, what is the your preferred adjectival term for things related to the UK, then? And what do you want to call the "British Empire", if "Britain" and all its variants are to be avoided? Is there some other term which is appropriate (bearing in mind that the term "United Kingdom" appears to date to the Act of Union in 1707, and the British Empire as an institution predates that)? And what term do you want to use for the political entity after the conquest of Wales (ca. 1284) and before 1707? "England" isn't appropriate, and neither is UK, which didn't exist yet. J. Noel Chiappa 15:18, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
Cultural continuity is a natural sociological phenomenon, and we implicitly use it (even when it is incorrect) in referring to the people and cultural constructs. I did not say that the term British is forbidden, nor that there are occasions when Britain was used as a synonym for the London-based territory. And of course, you are right about the terminology going back several centuries or more. My point is that it is now a word fraught with ambiguity and problems, so we should avoid it where possible. I still call myself British, for example, although UK national is more correct. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 15:38, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
I'm not sure I see the problem here, the British Empire is fine, the empire of Great Britain. Wales as part of Britain is always fine, and Wales even as a region of England is fine (post 1536, at least from a political perspective), but England and Wales are not Britain. After 1707 England (and Wales) and Scotland are not Britain either (they are more). Britain can include many political entities depending on the political boundaries at any given moment in history. Surely it is more a description of the location rather than a country. For me, it is closer to the usage of North America than anything else. We say America for the US but should not say North America, likewise, we say Great Britain but should not say Britain. not a great analogy but i think that is close to the usage problem I am seeing here.
To continue this analogy, would one say President George Washington (North America) similar to Elizabeth I (Britain)? These seem to be roughly equivalent usage as opposed to Elizabeth I (England). To get back to this article, I like Richard's argument that there is not necessarily a need to disambiguate in this case. But what of other monarchs? If disambiguation is required for even one this needs to be resolved. The issue being, does one use the country or the region to disambiguate? Chris Day 15:55, 2 June 2008 (CDT)

I agree, Chris, that there is not really a problem with the usages cited. What is a problem is when a certain historical configuration of Britain as a sovereign state (and owner of an Empire) is used anachronistically in the present. Although I take your point about analogy with North America, it is a bit different both for historical reasons and also because of the island nature of the place. Actually, there is the parallel conversation we have been having about how to define institutions of the USA, which Richard insists on calling U.S. and I think should be termed "Congress of the United States of America" as opposed to U.S. Congress. Again, this is a matter of everyday usage compared with formally correct usage: I incline to the latter, for the purposes of CZ. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 16:27, 2 June 2008 (CDT)

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One thing I worry about in using Britain based on precedent from book titles is that the ignorance level with regard to the terms usage is so high that even academics get it wrong. Even the British get it wrong. Citizendium should not propagate the misunderstanding but clarify it. This argument is reminiscent of the situation in the US where up to 70% of people think that evolution is false, including many academics, but this does not make it so. Our usage of terms must not be based on a popularity contest, even if we only poll academics. As for my opinion, I think we should stay away from using Britain as a term with politics, do we all agree that placing the term Britain on the following venn diagram is tricky? For me it is the island, so technically it should be a subset including part of Wales, England and Scotland. Personally, I use British and UK to refer to the people and country, not that I'm an expert on the topic. From a historcal perspective, I can see the usage as referring to people who lived on the island of Britain and there were many different groups at the time before England existed (Wessex, and Mercia, I space out on the others). Chris Day 12:35, 2 June 2008 (CDT)

Agreed. By the way, on passports and parliaments :)'s true UK passports have 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' on the front. But the inside includes statements such as This passport remains the property of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and may be withdrawn at any time. So it does use 'United Kingdom' in an official capacity. I can find the word 'British' (British citizens have the right of abode in the United Kingdom) but no references to 'Britain' or 'Great Britain' by themselves, which to me rather implies that 'United Kingdom' is a short form of 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' but 'Britain' isn't. Another place to look: This website, using the .uk domain, has 'United Kingdom Parliament' in big letters on the front page. Search for 'Britain' and you'll come up with references to the old 'Parliament of Great Britain' which existed before the 1800 union of Britain and Ireland, but nothing referring to the current parliament as a 'British parliament' (though there's a working paper on 'The Governance of Britain' which uses UK early on). John Stephenson 04:16, 3 June 2008 (CDT)
the government indeed uses all forms all the time. eg "The Government has published 'Preparing Britain for the Future — the Draft Legislative Programme 2008-09'..." or this official statement: "Britain in the World: Britain's foreign policy is focussed on protecting and promoting the UK's interests abroad and at home - defending our security and enhancing our prosperity." In speeches: Blair said "Britain is a diverse and dynamic society with excellent values and a talented, educated and tolerant people., Or try the British Library ("The British Library was established by the British Parliament with the British Library Act, 1972"). The bottom line is that very careful users who know what they are talking about use all these abbreviated forms of the full name: Britain, Great Britain, UK and United Kingdom. Historians strongly prefer the first two when they choose their titles--by ratio of maybe 50-1 over UK or United Kingdom. Economists I believe seem to prefer United Kingdom. None of the forms is rejected or devalued by any standard. Richard Jensen 04:50, 3 June 2008 (CDT)
What about this:
"The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain, however, comprises only England, Scotland and Wales. Great Britain is the largest island of the British Isles. Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic form the second largest island... On this site the term 'Britain' is used informally [emphasis mine] to mean the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland." 'Countries within a country', 10 Downing Street (i.e. Prime Minister's office).
So we can selectively quote all day. You are right that 'Britain' can mean 'United Kingdom of...', but it is not an official term. John Stephenson 06:22, 3 June 2008 (CDT)

I cannot believe that a serious academic would quote political speeches as an accurate statement of reality. It's just ridiculous. The name Britain is vague and potentially misleading and does not correspond with any definite legal or political entity; the fact that historians use it for contemporary purposes, shows just how much reliability we can expect from the discipline.

The concept of British nationality, on the other hand, is defined in UK law. Starting with the 1948 law, extended to the colonies, this reached its current form in 1981 with the British Nationality Act -- severing almost all links with the colonial past. Thus, British citizens are the only persons with the right of abode in the UK; they do not have the right of abode in Britain. I imagine the fact that the residents of the UK are defined as British citizens is what has confused some academics, but this confusion should not be replicated on CZ. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 06:44, 3 June 2008 (CDT)


For what its worth, the OED has the following:

The proper name of the whole island containing England, Wales, and Scotland, with their dependencies; more fully called Great Britain; now also used for the British state or empire as a whole.

After the OE. period, Britain was used only as a historical term, until about the time of Henry VIII and Edward VI, when it came again into practical politics in connexion with the efforts made to unite England and Scotland; in 1604 James I was proclaimed ‘King of Great Britain’; and this name was adopted for the United Kingdom, at the Union in 1707. After that event, South Britain and North Britain are frequent in Acts of Parl. for England and Scotland respectively: the latter is still in occasional (chiefly postal) use. (So West Britain, humorously or polemically for ‘Ireland’.) Greater Britain is a modern rhetorical phrase for ‘Great Britain and the colonies’, ‘the British Empire’, brought into vogue in 1868.

Interestingly, they define it as including all dependencies which is a little broader than I had assumed. They do agree it is synonymous with Great Britain. Chris Day 16:34, 2 June 2008 (CDT)

Very interesting. Especially as Great Britain does not include Northern Ireland, at least nowadays. If "Britain" includes all of its dependencies then it it is not synonymous with UK. THe UK is the political entity that acceded to the European Community in 1973, and the Crown dependencies such as the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands did not.Therefore, according to this definition, Britain is not a member of the European Union. Perhaps, Richard, you will see why this term is hopeless. Martin Baldwin-Edwards 17:01, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
It all depends on the context. In some, 'Britain' is perfectly clear, in others, not even 'United Kingdom' is good enough.
If you talking about 'British foreign policy prior to WWI', "the policy of Britain was x y z" is just fine.
If you're talking about some of the wierder corners of the UK system/situation (e.g. the Crown Dependencies, for instance) and the fine details thereof - e.g. which UK units (for lack of a better word) are part of the EC - not even "United Kingdom" is precise and unambiguous. E.g. the Crown Dependencies, although they are part of {whatever the heck the appropriate name is for the internationally recognized sovereign nation that Man/Guernsey/etc are part of}, are not 'part of it' for all sorts of other things; e.g. even though they aren't sovereign nations, they do negotiate treaties on their own with other sovereign nations. So if they aren't 'part of the UKoGBaNI', then what is the thing that they are part of? Or, alternatively, if they are considered part of the 'the UKoGBaNI', there's an un-named subset of that that's in the EC, and other parts (Man, Jersey, etc) that aren't.
So it all depends on context.
And I still have yet to hear what adjective we are supposed to use. Or is it just to be 'of the United Kingdom' everywhere (e.g. 'Educational system of the United Kingdom', instead of 'British educational system')? J. Noel Chiappa 18:54, 2 June 2008 (CDT)

I don;t disagree with most of that, Noel. The common adjective "British" should be used wherever possible, because we don't have alternatives such as UKian:-) The thing with soverignty and Crown dependencies is that they cannot negotiate international treaties: the UK is repsonsible for them in international law. They do have absolute sovereignty over their domestic affairs, via their Parliaments. This led, a few years ago, to a near constitutional crisis with one of them which refused to change its legislation in conformity with a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights. At that juncture, the UK government threatened to dissolve the local Parliament and impose direct rule from Westminster: they chnaged their law pronto :-) They have British passports, but are not British citizens and are not Citizens of the Union so cannot move to other EU countries. Therefore, "British" is a wider concept than UK and is more part of the history of empire, than of a modern state. As you say, it is all a matter of context: let;s just be careful to mean what we write, and know the meaning of the terminology.Martin Baldwin-Edwards 20:10, 2 June 2008 (CDT)

By hte way, the Scottish educational system has always been completely separate, for schooling and universities. The differences are marked, for example the Scots retain 4-year undergrad courses, while English and Welsh are 3 years. Therefore, there never has been a British education system. I have no idea what happens on the Isle of Man or Channel Islands with education, but I presume this is completely autnomoous and has little to do with English and Welsh structures.So, again, you see that we need to talk about coherent state structures rather than this amorphous "Britain". Martin Baldwin-Edwards 04:29, 3 June 2008 (CDT)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

Interesting (sorta) little set of continuing arguments we're having here.

It would be most helpful if you fellows would stop arguing about the exact same points, since you're all making valid ones and not actually saying anything that negates the points the others are making. It would also be helpful, Richard, if you conceded the point being made, instead of arguing a different one, which everyone, as far as I can tell, is granting you in any case.

I can only repeat (very sensibly, I might add) that people have all sorts of usages, for all sorts of reasons. Sure, Richard, people say "Britain". I haven't read where Martin has said differently. But, you must concede, "Britain" is NOT the formal name of the state. One might say that "everyone understands what you mean when you say 'Britain'". [major big shrug] Not really--everyone sorta understands. Irish people, for example, generally don't say 'Britain', they say "England", "Scotland" or "Wales", or they say "the U.K.". Indeed, I say "Irish people"; I meant people from the R.O.I., but what of the Northern Irish? How much of a fight do you want to start?

Some years ago, I did a flow chart tracing the development of the Fox Terrier for a presentation. I started at the top with "Terriers of the British Isles".

Oh, quel horreur! My husband has a fit, because, hurrumph, hurrumph, Fox Terriers were originally from Ireland, as everyone must know, and Ireland is NOT part of the British Isles!!!

Oh, brother. So I had to explain that a) we couldn't be sure the Fox Terrier came from Ireland and b) I'm sorry, my dear, but Ireland, is, too, part of the British Isles.

Let's just say that trouble reigned chez Curry for a good long while.

Could we please get back to the real topic at hand, to wit: how best to name this article?

I think that Richard's right that people are unlikely to confuse the QEII with Queen Elizabeth II. I think. I never say "Queen Elizabeth the Second" when I mean the ship, I say "The Cue EE Two". Then again, I would never say "Queen Elizabeth" when speaking of the present monarch, I would say "The Queen".

The question then becomes, is it prudent to follow Richard's suggestion of only using disambiguation where it is (absolutely?) necessary? Can we focus on that, for a while? Because if we call the article simply Elizabeth II the arguments fall away. We would of course, still have to disambiguate Elizabeth I. Is that an inconsistency we can live with?

Aleta Curry 18:20, 2 June 2008 (CDT)

Some Irish people, especially us from a more northern extraction have a very different way of describing Britain, which I won't mention in polite company :-) Seriously though, the issue of whether Lizzie is the monarch of Britain or the UK can be cleared up in a very simple way; What is her title? Queen of England? Britain? The UK?

I have always been under the assumption that Britain is the name of the greater island, including England, Scotland and Wales. The UK includes Northern Ireland. Or if you want to be particularly argumentative, both Ireland and Britain make up a territory known as Britain, hence 'the British Isles'

On the other hand, we don't consider our geographic location as being part of the 'British Isles'. As far as I know that usage was for the days when Britain offically and directly ruled us from 1801 - 1921. The most PC term for the region is of course, 'the islands of North west Europe', a term which nobody save a few crusty old Republican Irish professors might use. Anyway, I'm sure this comment has done absolutely nothing to resolve the dispute here other than give the opinion of a tired Irishman (Angry at foreigners calling his nation British!) Denis Cavanagh 18:41, 2 June 2008 (CDT)

My dear Mr Cavanagh, no one here would ever think of calling your nation "British"!
--Equally tired Biddy-by-marriage.
Aleta Curry 19:23, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
Her style also depends on where you are by the way and I have not seen anyone mention yet that the queen of the UK is also queen of a host of other nations. It just occured to me that in my neck of the woods she is Elizabeth II of Canada or more formally, Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith and in the UK, according to she is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. How would that be for the title of the page! ;-) --Michael Geldorp 19:20, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
Exhausting! Aleta Curry 19:23, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
Brenda. Frau Battenberg. In any case, she's a good Sheila and not a bit stuck-up. So say Bruce, Bruce, Bruce, Bruce, and Bruce M.Tindall 19:48, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
Michael makes a good point (historians cannot forget "Empress of India," regarding Victoria--and watch out because Australia may dump the Queen any day now). I suggest that the CZ title of the article is mostly a technicality and the first line of the article is the real identifier of the person, which should include name and short title. We use disambig terms to separate two articles dealing with two people with the same name. In the Queen's case the disambig is not needed, and I recommend using Ockham's razor to shave it off. Richard Jensen 20:05, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
I'm trying to do the rename, but ran into a technical hitch I require a Constable's help with. Patience, it'll be done soon! J. Noel Chiappa 20:26, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
Did someone call for a constable? --D. Matt Innis 22:03, 2 June 2008 (CDT)
According to someone on a Wikipedia talk page there was a Queen Elisabeth II of Bohemia. Different spelling, but historically such things vary. I'm inclined to say a hatnote would be appropriate in this case, given the great disparity in prominence. Peter Jackson 16:42, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
My Godfather, Peter, let's not start that again!!!
There are a whole lot of minor Elisabeths and a few Elizabeths.
If you want to start a page on Elizabeth, the name, or "Queen Elizabeth" by all means be my guest. Ditto Empress Elizabeth, Elizabeth the motion picture Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You, or Elizabeth anything else.
Queen Elizabeth, regnant, there were only two, those of England, Good Queen Bess and our current Lizzie the second.
Aleta Curry 21:28, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
How come no one calls her a Queen Mum, now that the previous titleholder has gone to her reward? As far as I know, she's both a Queen and a Mum. "No, no," he added hastily, "please don't bother!" Hayford Peirce 23:18, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I will, if you push me, you sage-donkey, you! Aleta Curry 20:22, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

King of Thailand

I've used his dynastic name for now. If anyone wants to decide which of the various spellings of his personal name to use (Bhumibol/Phoomiphon Adulyadej/Adulyaded/Adundet/Adunet, maybe more) they're welcome. Peter Jackson (talk) 17:10, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Elizabeth may not be the longest-reigning female monarch in world history, if we count Eleanor of Aquitaine, who ruled over the Duchy from 1137 to 1204. I suppose it depends on whether we confining the status to monarchs who have been head of a state in the modern sense. John Stephenson (talk) 17:25, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

I think "monarch" means of an independent state. Aquitaine was nominally part of France, independent only de facto. For what it's worth, WP doesn't include her in its list of longest-reigning monarchs (so I wasn't aware of what you mention above). Peter Jackson (talk) 08:56, 14 October 2016 (UTC)