A Royal Fellow of the Royal Society is a member of the British Royal Family who has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. The council of the Royal Society recommends members of the Royal Family to be elected and then the existing Fellows vote by a secret ballot whether to accept them. The ballots have only a box to tick supporting the measure; those opposing have to write "no" or otherwise mark or spoil the paper. As of 2016 the Patron was Queen Elizabeth II, and Royal Fellows were:
The British Monarch is always the Patron of the Royal Society, regardless of whether he/she has been previously elected a Royal Fellow. Queen Elizabeth II was elected a Royal Fellow in 1947 before she acceded to the throne in 1952. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is not a Royal Fellow as he was elected under statute 12 in 1951.
Criticism of Royal Fellows
When Prince Andrew was elected in 2013 his suitability was questioned following criticism of his past business activities. Some members asked whether it was time for an institution based on science to end the practice of honouring people on the basis of heredity; Professor David Colquhoun FRS said "The objects of the Royal Society are nothing to do with the monarchy, and the monarchy, on the whole, has shown absolutely no interest in science".
In the past members of foreign royal families have also been elected Royal Fellows.