ITV has aired the Meghan Markle and Prince Harry interview with US host Oprah Winfrey, and it saw the royal couple make repeated referenced to ‘The Institution’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were keen to differentiate between the Royal Family as a family and the Royal Family as The Firm.
But who exactly makes up The Institution?
What did Meghan Markle say about The Institution in the ITV programme?
Meghan said in the interview: “So, there’s the family, and then there’s the people that are running the institution.
“Those are two separate things. And it’s important to be able to compartmentalise that, because the Queen, for example, has always been wonderful to me.”
CNN reported that the monarchy is similar to a government department or independent public body.
The Queen is the head of that organisation, with a hierarchy below her based on the line of succession to the throne.
The Firm as a business
As royal fans will know, that puts Prince Charles behind the Queen, followed by Prince William, then his children George, Charlotte and Louis, followed by Prince Harry.
Royal biographer Penny Junor, author of the book The Firm: The Troubled Life of the House of Windsor, likened the Royal Family to a large, multi-million pound business.
The Royal Family is a big business, though one with more ups and downs than the stock market.
She said it was Prince Philip who came up with The Firm.
However, it seems that while the Duke of Edinburgh might have popularised the term, its origins could go back a bit further.
As reported by The New York Times, it dates back to King George VI, the Queen’s father, who said: “British royals are ‘not a family, we’re a firm’.”
And like a business, those running it have to avoid weakening it in any way.
Institution includes the royal staff
Penny wrote: “The Royal Family is a big business, though one with more ups and downs than the stock market.
“All the royal executives and their powerful associates are supposed to make every effort to avoid even a hint of scandal that could diminish the reputation of the family business.”
Bustle highlighted one of the main distinctions between the family side of the royals and The institution. It reported is that the latter also includes the network of employees, such as communications staff and aides.
According to CNN royal employees are based across five main departments. Those are HR, IT, the Private Secretary’s Office and the Privy Purse and Treasurer’s Office.
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