Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type




First Advisor

Jeanette Fregulia

Second Advisor

Gillian Glaes

Third Advisor

Erik Pratt


The relationship between the British Empire and the monarchy of Britain is an understudied aspect of the history of Britain. Examining the monarchy from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I to the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, with emphasis on the reigns of King George III, Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VIII, and King George VI, this thesis argues that the Empire played an integral role in the survival of the British monarchy. Over the course of British history examined, the formal powers of the monarchy steadily declined due to many internal and external factors. As the formal power declined, however, the Empire allowed the informal power of the monarchy to expand, because the monarchy was the unifying symbol of the Empire. The increase in informal power allowed the monarchs to have a more direct formal power over the ruling and policies implemented in the Empire.