Last British monarch to act substantively without our knowledge?

Was just wondering who the last British monarch was who is generally accepted to have done something fairly meaningful (no slight intended) with or without the public’s knowledge, e.g. brokered a treaty, ordered an execution, etc. Query inspired by Hess’ actions.

Guess I meant member of the British aristocracy, rather than monarch, but anything in that realm would work. :smack:

King George VI undertook substantial negotiations with FDR and the Canadian premier Mackenzie King during the King’s North American tour of 1939, which resulted in the proposal to lease bases in the British West Indies to the US in the event of war. Recently opened documents reveal the King was involved to a much greater extent than previously thought, reporting the results of his talks with FDR at the latter’s private residence back to London on a rolling basis. The government dared not send a conventional diplomat for fear of awaking suspicion from the isolationists.

Elizabeth II has shaped a lot of policy, very small snippets of which have been made public. Remember that she has the right of consultation with her Ministers, and uses it. But this is always played down publicly.

Didn’t King William IV lead troops into battle? Not King, but Prince Andrew served during the Falkands campaign (and came close to being killed by friendly fire). George III was a noted patron of the sciences and the arts. Edward VIII abdicated.

Princes Di bought a lot of publicity to children in war zones- although I tend to believe that was more for her own self promotion rather than any altruistic belief. Even so, she did it.

It’s also not talked about much, but the D-Day Invasion plans were presented to her, for her approval. Don’t know what would have happened if she’d have disproved of them, but they did present them to her.

No they weren’t. When D day happen she was only 18 years old and still heiress presumptive. They probally were presented to her father, King George VI. Princess Elizabeth did serve in the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945, but she was only a subaltern.

Could be, I’ve never paid much attention to the royal family, so I don’t know who took the throne when. IAC, the plans were presented to the royal family, which member was “in charge” at that time, I don’t know.

According to the Wikipedia ( the last British sovereign to command troops in the field was George II, who reigned 1727-1760). William IV ( reigned 1830-1837.

What about Queen Victoria forcing a change in government, in the early years of her reign, because she refused to work with anyone other than Melbourne? Or the Bedchamber Plot-would those count?

No “could be” about it. alphaboi867 just told you who was in charge at the time - King George VI. Elizabeth did not succeed to the throne until 1953, at the age of 25. It is highly unlikely that the D-Day plans would have been submitted to Elizabeth for her approval, considering her age at the time.

What’s your cite for them having been presented to “the royal family,” rather than just to the King himself?

It also could be that I’m totally wrong about it being presented to any member of the royal family. The only thing I can recall off the top of my head was a biopic on Eisenhower which showed the plans being presented to a male and female member of the royal family.

That may be the source of the confusion, then. That would almost certainly have been King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the mother of the present Queen Elizabeth II. After her daughter’s accession she was most commonly referred to as the Queen Mother. (She died in 2002). She played a quite visible role during WWII, gaining great respect for refusing to leave England during the Blitz.

So why isn’t the current QE2 called QE3?

You only get a number if you’re the head honcho as it were.

You can find some old threads about why a woman gets the title queen without being the sovereign and a man doesn’t (hence Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh)

Because the Queen Mother (a.k.a. Queen Elizabeth), the mother of the present queen, wasn’t the reigning monarch. It was George VI, the father of the present queen and the husband of the Queen Mother, who was the reigning monarch. Although the title “Queen” is given to the wife of a reigning king, she is not the reigning monarch herself and she isn’t part of the succession, so there have only been two reigning queens called Elizabeth and thus the Queen Mother wasn’t given a number. When the queen is the reigning monarch, her husband is called the Prince Consort, which is why Elizabeth II’s husband is called Prince Philip and not King Philip. There’s some dispute what will happen when Prince Charles becomes king. It was announced when they married that Camilla will become Princess Consort when he becomes king, but later other people said that that’s not possible since the wife of a reigning king must be refered to as the Queen.

How about we compromise and just call her “Rover”? :wink:

A man became king once before without becoming sovereign. Mary I’s husband, Phillip, was styled “King of England” etc during her reign. He also got the masculine form of all her titles and gov’t documents were dated in both their names (not true for queen consorts), but wasn’t a co-sovereign and he didn’t inheirit the throne after her death. Mary II’s husband, William III, was made co-sovereign and did continue to reign after his wife’s death.

As Wendell Wagner has noted, it’s because Queen Elizabeth II’s mother was a Queen Consort, not a Queen Regnant. Cecil speaks here on the subject of Kings and Queens (and Princes) Consorts.

Re **alphaboi’s ** last post, I would mention that Elizabeth II’s grandmother (the wife of George V) was yet another Queen Mary, but since she was also a Queen Consort she received no number.