The British Royal Family versus the American First Family. Functions and Differences

Essay, 2015

5 Pages




Differences in terms of Leadership

Difference in terms of reigning period and power sharing

Functions of the Royal and First Families

Financial Obligations




In the United Kingdom, the Royal Family consists of close family members and the extended relatives of the ruler (Billig, 1992). Members of the Royal Family are either affiliated by means of birth or by marriage to other Royal Families (Vollmann, 2000). An example is the current regime in England under the rule of Queen Elizabeth (British Royal Family History). George V married Mary of Tech in order to strengthen their ties and bond with Germany during 1917 since George V had ancestry in Germany (British Royal Family History). After the marriage, the two royal nations decided to name their house as the House of Windsor since it was a unique house name without any ties to either nation (British Royal Family History). Queen Elizabeth, a descendant of George V, married Phillip who was the Duke of Edinburgh in order to strengthen the royalties therefore making the House of Windsor the official Royal Family ruling Britain (British Royal Family History). The American First Families do not have any blood ties but certain First Families for example the Bush family maintained political respect having two more than one family member becoming the Head of State (Watson, 2004). Most American presidents came from rich families for example the Clinton Family while others started as mere people and later gained political knowledge and thus gaining high political positions for example the current president Barrack Obama (Watson, 2004).

Roles and Responsibilities

The Royal Family members are also known partly for their official role in the Commonwealth affairs on behalf of the monarch and also the social lifestyle revolving around the elite within the European society. The Royal Family is arguably a symbol of continuity in the national consciousness (Billig, 1992). In America, the title of the First Family is given to the immediate family members of the United States president (Watson, 2004). These members include the first lady, and any child they have. The extended family members of the current president may be referred to as members of the First Family if they reside within the executive residence of the White House Complex (Watson, 2004). Unlike the king or queen in a Royal Family who undertake in social events mostly, the president is responsible for handling state affairs therefore the head of government.

In Britain, the Queen performs the same function as the American president. She is the head of the Church of England as well as the head of armed forces therefore she has no power to exercise any form of authority towards the roles she has been given (Billig, 1992). In America this is different because the First Family is responsible for managing state affairs especially the political future of the nation and is only accorded state privileges once in office (Watson, 2004). When the time in office ends, the First Family ceases to live in the white house but is accorded other special privileges including security as well. The other thing is that the First Family during their stay in the White House, every member is assigned a code name by the United States Secret Service, which is the governing body responsible for the protection of the First Family.

Differences in terms of Leadership

The king and the president who belong to the Royal Family and the First Family are leaders. The president and the king attain their position in different ways. A president can govern a nation in terms of the dictatorship of by means of using the constitution (Watson, 2004). Also, a king can govern a nation politically within a wide range of political systems (Billig, 1992). The various political frameworks include using the constitution to rule, incorporating a parliamentary government or in other cases use of complete dominion to its citizens (Billig, 1992). One difference that distinguishes the royal family and the first family is the fact that a king inherits his position from his family (Vollmann, 2000). The monarch on its part exists for generations therefore giving the king command to rule for decades without being overthrown (Vollmann, 2000). The American president on the other hand is elected into office in two distinctive ways. One way is directly by the citizens. The other way is by using the representative system for example the electoral college (Watson, 2004).

Difference in terms of reigning period and power sharing

The American constitution stipulates a certain period of time that a person can hold seats in the government then step down for another candidate. The president unlike the king does not reign until they die instead; they follow the constitution and govern for a number of years then retire (Watson, 2004). The king on his part rules until the time they die (Burnett, 2006). This means not unless a king decides to resign, then the king becomes the self-governing leader of the state (Burnett, 2006).

While in office, the president has the power to refuse and accept certain amendments over bills, the elected representatives have proposed (Watson, 2004). The president also participates in running the government and is responsible for electing the cabinet. The king on the other hand has a control power over his monarchy (Vollmann, 2000). In other nations, the king has a control power over the subjects. This usually happens in countries under absolute monarchy (Burnett, 2006). Also, in certain monarchies, the king acts as an authoritative figurehead (Burnett, 2006). In such a situation, decisions regarding the state and political affiliations have to be made by either appointed or elected officials who include members of parliament and ministers (Burnett, 2006).

Functions of the Royal and First Families

In the United Kingdom, the Royal Family exists and the Queen undertakes the functions of the sovereign monarch but decisions regarding the political future of the nation are left under the control of the prime minister who acts as the head of political matters (Billig, 1992). Members of the Royal Family are accorded state privileges including owning and living in the guarded Buckingham palace and other special respects attributed towards them (Burnett, 2006). The Royal Family enjoys certain privileges such as immunity from the local government as part of their special respects (Billig, 1992). This means a member of the Royal Family can decide to construct whichever building without reprimand by the local government. This is quite a different scene in America. A member of the First Family cannot invest in constructing without following the stipulated rules of the local government (Watson, 2004).


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The British Royal Family versus the American First Family. Functions and Differences
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british, royal, family, american, first, functions, differences
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Martin Kirugi (Author), 2015, The British Royal Family versus the American First Family. Functions and Differences, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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