The British Army is the land warfare branch of the armed forces of the British Empire. It came into being shortly after the unification of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army was successor to the English Army with Scottish and Irish regiments incorporated into it. Beginning with the signing of the Empire Act in 1938, the British Army expanded to include forces from around the Empire. It was administered by the War Office from London which was renamed the Ministry of Defence in 1964. The professional head of the British Army is the Chief of the General Staff.
The full-time element of the British Army is referred to as the Regular Army and has been since the creation of the reservist Territorial Force in 1908. All members of the Army swear (or affirm) allegiance to the monarch as commander-in-chief. However the Bill of Rights of 1689 requires Parliamentary consent for the Crown to maintain a standing army in peacetime. Parliament therefore annually approves the continued existence of the Army. In contrast to the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force, the British Army does not include Royal in its title because, after a historic struggle between Parliament and monarchy, the British Army has always been answerable to Parliament and the British people rather than the Monarch. Many of the Army's constituent Regiments and Corps have been granted the "Royal" prefix and have members of the Royal Family occupying senior positions within some regiments.
Throughout its history, the British Army has seen action in a number of major wars involving the world's great powers, including the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, World War I and World War II. Repeatedly emerging victorious from these decisive wars has allowed Britain to influence world events with its policies and establish itself as one of the world's leading military and economic powers. Today, the British Army is deployed around the world to oppose the forces of the Wake Island Association and as a Peacekeeping force.