Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work

Headquarters/Head Of State

Season 1, Episode 3 of 6

Headquarters - Buckingham Palace's 650 rooms form the nerve center of the British monarchy. It's from here that the queen directs the business of the royal family, entertains heads of state and conducts her private life. "Headquarters" goes beyond the palace gates for a rare glimpse inside. Ghana's President Kufour and his wife, along with their entourage, have arranged a state visit. The queen's guests will stay in Buckingham Palace's 11 royal suites, where meticulous footmen will valet for them, unpacking and pressing each item of clothing and attending to their every need. For the magnificent banquet, the queen personally reviews the table arrangements and the royal chef certifies that the presentation of every plate is perfect. At the queen's official birthday celebration, thousands of well-wishers gather under the palace balcony; the Royal Air Force flies in formation overhead. After they greet the crowds, members of the House of Windsor head inside for her majesty's private family party. "Headquarters" also follows Queen Elizabeth as she prepares for her annual move to Balmoral in Scotland. While she's gone, 40,000 visitors will tour the royal apartments for a spectacular exhibit of her formal gowns and jewelry, but only after the queen approves the display. Head of State - For the dramatic ritual that opens Parliament, the queen's coachmen don full livery, and two of her horse-drawn carriages parade through the streets. One holds the queen the other carries the crown jewels. "Head of State" leads viewers through the elaborate state opening of Parliament from the secret removal of the crown jewels from their Tower of London vault to the moment when the House of Commons slams the door in the face of the queen's representative to the eventual conclusion when the rowdy Commons stand before their queen. Not all of the queen's state responsibilities require full regalia. "Head of State" also attends the weekly private audience between Her Majesty and the British prime minister. It's his duty to keep the queen informed. It's hers to listen and to impart the wisdom gleaned from nine of his predecessors. The royal job also entails extensive travel. Although the queen has seen almost every country on earth, no monarch has ever set foot in the former Soviet republics of the Baltic states. In a historic visit to the newly democratic Republic of Estonia, the ambassador, his wife and their staff have attended to every detail.

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