Why not the Royal Army?

Avatar Image
anotheoldgit | 15:53 Sun 11th Nov 2007 | History
8 Answers
We have the Royal Navy, the Royal Airforce, and the Royal Marines.

Why isn't the Army so called?


1 to 8 of 8rss feed

Best Answer

No best answer has yet been selected by anotheoldgit. Once a best answer has been selected, it will be shown here.

For more on marking an answer as the "Best Answer", please visit our FAQ.
Historians often dispute the claim but members of the Royal Navy itself generally believe it was originally created by King Alfred the Great in the 9th century...hence the 'royal'. (The actual phrase 'Royal Navy' did not appear anywhere in print before the 16th century, however.)

Of course, kings in history and throughout the world had armies long before they had navies, but these were generally recruited on an ad hoc basis in order to fight specific threats or campaigns. At the end of their necessity, they simply disbanded until next time. It is claimed, however, that there has been an 'established', permanent English - now British - navy since Alfred's day.

The RAF was formed at the end of World War I and given its 'royal' title at the time, having grown out of the Royal Flying Corps, when King George V was on the British throne.

Consequently, both the RN and RAF were created in the name of a King and hence called �Royal'...the Army never was.
I think it was something to do with it fighting against the king in Cromwell's time.
Question Author
i am still not convinced, if they are all her majesty's armed forces why not give them all the Royal title, even now?
one of the arguments put forward on that talk board was that it's Parliament's army, not the monarch's. The royals just drop in to pick up medals.
Question Author
Thanks for the link jno, it is good to know that there are idiots on that site as well as this one, judging by this excerpt taken from it. This is referring to Queen Victoria and her Guards.

"It is because of her that guards regiments have lance sergeants".

"She considered the single lance corporal stripe looked "odd" on the dress uniform. So she ordered the rank abolished. Not being able to do that, the joint Colonels decided to have two stripes for lance corporals, the next rank, which would be corporal in the real army, Guards are "wooden tops" NOT real army � , was three silver stripes, known as "lance Sergeants", Full Sergeants wear three gold stripes".

I think the idiot who wrote "Guards are wooden tops, not real army, should have been with the Grenadiers on their recent tours of Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the British army, many of its component parts,
Corps and Regiments, have this 'Royal' appendage,
eg. Royal Corps of Signals, Royal Armoured Corps,
Royal Regiment of Wales etc, etc.

It seems that 'Royal' is a mere convention, with no
real significance. For instance, there were originally
6 Royal hospitals, founded by Henry V111, but today
there are many modern hospitals which have adopted
that 'Royal' soubriquet, with little, or no, justification,
eg. Sunderland Royal Hospital.
The simplest answer is that the Navy was created and funded by the king, at a time when they really did have absolute power over defence matters. Hence "Royal" Navy.

The army was originally set up as a sort of franchise operation, with each regiment run and funded by a Colonel. Certain regiments and corps were given the title "Royal" as an honour.

One of those corps was the Royal Engineers, from which came the Royal Flying Corps. That corps plus the Royal Naval Air Service merged to form the Royal Air Force, explaining why the RAF is "Royal". The Royal Marines are likewise a Royal unit, and are also within a Royal service (the Navy).

So the RAF is a descendant of a Royal part of the army, and the Navy had been the king or queen's own armed force for over 100 years before the army was even formed.

1 to 8 of 8rss feed

Do you know the answer?

Why not the Royal Army?

Answer Question >>