This is a topic which can be spread over a few lessons and one which covers several language areas including food, clothes, biographies, family trees and parties. It’s steeped in British culture as the Royal Family is an integral part of British identity and image abroad. The majority of the activities are linked through a fictitious King or Queen invented by the children themselves in pairs or small groups depending on the size of your class.

Age

10 years old +

Materials

  • Photos of members of the British Royal Family
  • Card and pens for posters
  • Access to computers with your class

The British Monarchy

Before you begin you can ask the class to brainstorm any words they already know to do with the British Monarchy. Stick on the board pictures of the Queen and other members of the Royal family that you can get hold of as stimuli.

  • To get an initial overview of the British Royal Family take a look at the kids pages of the official British Monarchy website. There is a great ABC of words associated with the Royal family which include C for crown jewels and U for uniforms. You can even colour online pictures of corgis and guards.
  • The children, in pairs, could research two letters each from this page on a computer and feedback to the class on what they found out.
  • Make a class Royal dictionary where the write a couple of sentences each on each letter associated word. They should do this neatly on a sheet of A4 which when they have all finished you can punch holes in and attach with ribbon.

Beefeaters
Woodlands Junior School have created some great webpages about beefeaters and the Tower of London:
http://projectbritain.com/Beefeaters.htm
http://projectbritain.com/london/tower.htm

  • Use the text to practise the past simple with your older primary classes. This tense coincides neatly with this topic which is fixed in the past.
  • It’s important that the children get to see some real pictures like these to make the subject seem real to them. Use visual support as much as possible.

Henry VIII
This King was an interesting character and could easily become the subject matter for one of your classes. Have a look here at his and other Royal figureheads’ biographies:
https://www.royal.uk/henry-viii-r1509-1547
https://www.royal.uk/search?tags[0]=encyclopaedia

These texts might be a little too lengthy for your students but why not simplify them.

  • Copy and print them and extract some key sentences from the text and remove some of the verbs. In small groups they have to put the verbs back into the sentences.
  • You can move on to them inventing a new king or queen and compiling a biography for them using the same format. E.g. He had three wives. He was born in 1654. He loved to eat chicken and potatoes.

Royal birthdays
The fact that the Queen celebrates two birthdays a year dates back to King Edward VII’s reign when he decided that because the English weather made his November birthday difficult to celebrate that he should have a second in the summer. Read this page to find out more: 
https://www.royal.uk/queens-birthday

Using the king or queen they have created in the previous activity they can organize a royal birthday celebration. This can revolve around what presents to bring them. Ask questions such as:

  • What presents does a king/queen want for their birthday?
  • What entertainment does a king/queen want for their birthday party?
  • Do kings/queens like to watch clowns or listen to poetry?
  • Do they like watching pop concerts?

Garden parties
These get-togethers are a way for chosen members of the public to meet the Royal family in a semi-formal setting. Have a look on the website and see what is normally on the menu and how much food they normally need:
https://www.royal.uk/garden-parties

  • Make your own menus for a Royal garden party – again for the same King or Queen they have already invented. They could invent strange foods or have a special theme for their garden party.
  • Design the invitations and remember to include all the necessary information about where to come and for what time. You may need to give them a written frame to work from for the invitations.
  • Decide what type of clothes guests must wear. In June 2006 there was a children’s literature themed based party held at Buckingham palace. Some people came dressed up as characters from books. You could use this as an example of the type of imaginary party they could hold.

Family Trees
A family tree and more importantly family history, is the foundation upon which a Royal Family is composed.

  • Show them an example of a royal family tree introducing extended family member titles such as cousin, uncle, aunt, niece and nephew.
  • To maintain continuity they can then invent a family tree for their invented King or Queen using labels for each family member.
  • They could present their royal figure to the class and/or display their family tree on the wall.

Follow up suggestions
It would be worthwhile to collate all the work they have done on the one fictitious character and display it on the wall. They could, in their small groups or pairs, display a family tree, the invitation and the menu for the garden party, the King’s birthday present list and his biography.

Author: 
Jo Bertrand
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