The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain) is a sovereign state located off the north-western coast of continental Europe. The country includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands.
Here at Lambeth Palace we should remind ourselves of the significant position of the Church of England in our nation’s life. The concept of our established Church is occasionally misunderstood and, I believe, commonly under-appreciated. Its role is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions. Instead, the Church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country.
Prince Philip and I are delighted to be with you today to pay tribute to the particular mission of Christianity and the general value of faith in this country.
This gathering is a reminder of how much we owe the nine major religious traditions represented here. They are sources of a rich cultural heritage and have given rise to beautiful sacred objects and holy texts, as we have seen today.
The Queen’s Official Expenditure for 2011-12 funded by the equivalent of the new Sovereign Grant has decreased by 26% in real terms over the last three years. The total expenditure in the year was £32.3m as against £32.1m in the previous year and £36.5m three years ago.
Military service age and obligation:
16-33 years of age (officers 17-28) for voluntary military service (with parental consent under 18); women serve in military services, but are excluded from ground combat positions and some naval postings; as of October 2009, women comprised 12.1% of officers and 9% of enlisted personnel in the regular forces; must be citizen of the UK, Commonwealth, or Republic of Ireland; reservists serve a minimum of 3 years, to age 45 or 55; 16 years of age for voluntary military service by Nepalese citizens in the Brigade of Gurkhas; 16-34 years of age for voluntary military service by Papua New Guinean citizens (2009)
temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast
mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast
lowest point: The Fens -4 m
highest point: Ben Nevis 1,343 m
The English account for more than 80% of the population. The Scots make up nearly 10% and the Welsh and Northern Irish most of the rest. The UK is also home to diverse immigrant communities, mainly from its former colonies in the West Indies, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Africa.
The United Kingdom does not have a written constitution. The equivalent body of law is based on statute, common law, and "traditional rights." Changes may come about formally through new acts of Parliament, informally through the acceptance of new practices and usage, or by judicial precedents. Although Parliament has the theoretical power to make or repeal any law, in actual practice the weight of 700 years of tradition restrains arbitrary actions. Executive power rests nominally with the monarch but actually is exercised by a committee of ministers (cabinet) traditionally selected from among the members of the House of Commons and, to a lesser extent, the House of Lords. The prime minister is normally the leader of the largest party in the Commons, and the government is dependent on its support.
Home of the Industrial Revolution, the United Kingdom has produced many great scientists and engineers including Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. The father of modern economics, Adam Smith, was a Scot. English literature has produced an endless stream of poets, dramatists, essayists and novelists from Geoffrey Chaucer via Shakespeare and his contemporaries to a plethora of modern writers such as J. K. Rowling and the Nobel Prizewinner, Doris Lessing.
Throughout the 19th Century, Great Britain was the world's dominant industrial and maritime power. It played a huge role in the development of our modern democracies, and in the advancements of literature, manufacturing, science and the performing arts.
The Roman invasion of Britain in 55 B.C. and most of Britain's subsequent incorporation into the Roman Empire stimulated development and brought more active contacts with the rest of Europe. As Rome's strength declined, the country again was exposed to invasion--including the pivotal incursions of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes in the fifth and sixth centuries A.D.--up to the Norman conquest in 1066. Norman rule effectively ensured Britain's safety from further intrusions; certain institutions, which remain characteristic of Britain, could develop. Among these are a political, administrative, cultural, and economic center in London; a separate but established church; a system of common law; distinctive and distinguished university education; and representative government.
The United Kingdom (UK) is arguably Europe's most influential country. In simple terms, it's the union of the individual countries of England, Scotland and Wales, collectively called Great Britain (Europe's largest island) and the northeastern corner of Ireland - the constitutionally distinct region of Northern Ireland.