Before Queen Elizabeth's reign, the British Monarchy fought to stay alive through war from the outside, but the current leader of the House of Windsor is keeping the family alive by embracing the 21st Century with open arms when it comes to her grandchildren.
"She's insuring the future of the monarchy by being open and flexible and adapting," former palace staffer Colleen Harris, who worked for Prince Charles from 1998 to 2003, told PEOPLE this week. "She's allowing it to rebrand."
Elizabeth has had crises none of her predecessors have had to face. In 1992, she dealt with two high-profile divorces, with Prince Charles and Princess Diana and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson both splitting. In 1997, Diana died and the family's first responses to her death were criticized. And despite Diana's death putting the spotlight on the dangers of paparazzi, the family is never far from flashing cameras.
In 2015, BBC Royal reporter Nicholas Witchell told the Express that the misjudged first reaction to Diana's death "jolted out of its complacency and forced [the monarchy to] look at itself with a very much more critical eye."
"The Queen said that lessons had to be learned from Diana's death. Slowly they have been. There has not been a massive change. It's an evolution not a revolution," former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond told the Express.
Since 2011, the Queen has fixed the family's reputation by allowing Charles and Diana's sons to marry commoners. In 2011, Prince William, who will one day become king, married Kate Middleton. In May, Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, a mixed-race American actress.
Harris said the family was at first "quite shocked" when William chose to marry Kate, "an ordinary middle-class girl with no background in royalty or aristocracy."
"People then sort of thought, an ordinary person can grow up and marry into the royal family. How exciting, how different! With [Meghan], that takes it even a step further," Harris told PEOPLE. "The Queen is allowing the royal family to modernize. We have come a real long way. They are not stuffy and immovable."
William, Harry, Kate and Meghan have also helped turn the royal family into leaders of charitable causes. Harry established the successful Invictus Games for wounded veterans around the world and continues to be at the forefront of conservation efforts. Kate has been the driving force behind the family's mental health awareness endeavors.
Kate is "thoughtful, strategic and equally committed to bringing about change. And she often spots the nub of the issue or a critical thing that needs dealing with."
There is one part of modern life the royal family is not quite ready for. While Kensington Palace has Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts to share updates with the public, the highest-ranking member of the royal family with a personal Instagram account is Princess Eugenie.
"I recently got in trouble for posting a picture of Papa in a corridor of the palace that was off-limits to the public," Eugenie told British Vogue.
Eugnie could also use her Instagram page in October to provide an unprecedented look at a royal wedding. She is getting married in this autumn.
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