The House of Windsor came into being in 1917, when the name was adopted as the British Royal Family's official name by a proclamation of King George V, replacing the historic name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. It remains the family name of the current Royal Family.

The present Queen has familial ties with most of the monarchs in Europe.

During the twentieth century, kings and queens of the United Kingdom have fulfilled the varied duties of constitutional monarchy. One of their most important roles has been acting as national figureheads lifting public morale during the devastating wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45.

The period saw the modernisation of the monarchy in tandem with many social changes which have taken place over the past 90 years. One such modernisation has been the use of mass communication technologies to make the Royal Family accessible to a broader public all over the world.

George V adopted the new medium of radio to broadcast across the Empire at Christmas; the Coronation ceremony was broadcast on television for the first time in 1953, at The Queen's insistence; and the World Wide Web has been used for the past seven years to provide a global audience with information about the Royal Family.

During this period, British monarchs have also played a vital part in promoting international relations. The Queen retains close links with former colonies in her role as Head of the Commonwealth.