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Answered 2012-10-16 23:13:33

Many Regiments and most Corps (eg Royal Artillery; Royal Engineers; Royal Logistic Corps; Royal Corps of Signals; Royal Irish Regt; Royal Tank Regt) have "Royal" as part of their titles; others (eg The Parachute Regt; The Rifles; The Intelligence Corps; the Guards Regts) do not.

Historically, the British Army is a "blended" army evolved over many centuries via the gradual merging of different elements: eg Royal Household Troops (ie the "personal" troops of the Monarch); the forces of Parliament (The New Model Army) of the Civil Wars period; the Scottish Armies; feudal levies, militia forces, and mercenary forces (especially Welsh and Irish), plus, more recently, residual elements of Empire forces - notably the Gurkhas (by treaty arrangement with the Government of Nepal), and also the thousands of Commonwealth Citizens (eg West Indians; Fijiians; Africans, and even some South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders, plus, of course, the numerous Irish Citizens) who continue to enlist today.

There have always been "armies" of various types throughout the long history of the British Isles, but to whom exactly they answered, and on what basis, varied considerably by time and place, and according to the politics of particular eras. The first truly "professional" army in England was Cromwell's "New Model Army" - a Parliamentarian army established to fight the Royalist Army of Charles I.

Strictly speaking, there has only been a "British Army" per se since the merging of the two kingdoms of Scotland and England by the Act of Union, 1707. Later in the C18th, the largely clan based Highland "Jacobite" forces (once defeated by Government forces) were incorporated into the British Army as essentially clan centred regiments, ensuring their loyalty to the "new order" by continuing emphasis on primary allegiance to "clan" rather than "Government" or "Crown" which they, henceforth, actually served.

Today, British soldiers (like all members of the British Armed Forces) swear allegiance to the Crown (ie the reigning monarch), who SYMBOLISES the British State, but who has VIRTUALLY NO POLITICAL POWER. Beyond this, however, the first loyalty of individual soldiers still tends to be to "The Regiment". The Army is under the control of the elected Government of the day: Parliament MUST confirm the continuing legitimacy of the Army by renewing "The Army Act" every 5 years - ie the Army only exists by consent of Parliament.

The British Army is, in many ways, a confederation of "tribes" and "clubs", all having unique and diverse histories and origins - some closely associated with the Royal Household, but others very much not so! In recognition of this very peculiar history, and in order not to upset the equilibrium of what eventually emerged as a fairly coherent "national army" (which is, in fact, very "multinational", and often quite "tribal"!), it was generally thought best not to give the "British Army" as a whole the "Royal" prefix.

The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force were, in contrast, founded at specific times either by ruling monarchs (ie the English and Scottish Medieval kings) or by the British Parliament (the RAF was formally established from Army and Royal Navy elements as an entirely new Armed Service in 1918), and, therefore, legally/ constitutionally were always "Forces of the Crown" from their creation.

In short, then, the RN and RAF were established by ruling monarchs, or rather their elected governments, at specific times, whereas the British Army evolved gradually over centuries from very diverse elements which were eventually taken under the full control and direction of the British State.

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