U. K. Profile
The British Isles consist of 2 large islands; Great Britain comprising (skladat se) England, Wales and Scotland and Ireland comprising the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland and more than 5000 smaller islands, that include the Isle of Man, the Hebrides, the Orkneys. Great Britain covers the area of 245 000 km2. Great Britain can be divided into 2 main regions Lowland Britain and Highlands Britain. The main mountain regions are the Highlands of Scotland with the highest mountain Ben Nevis (1343 m), the Pennins, the Cambrian Mountains and the Grampians. The longest rivers are the Severn and the Thames. There are beautiful lake areas in the Lake District (in Cumbria) and in the Highlands of Scotland, where they are cold lochs. The largest lakes are Lake Windermere and Loch Ness, which became famous the 1930s because of the Loch Ness monster. To the Great Britain belong the states of Commonwealth: Canada, Australia, South Africa, and India. These states are or were colonies of U. K.
Government and Queen
Britain consists of 4 countries: England, with capital London; Scotland – Edinburgh; Wales – Cardiff; Northern Ireland – Belfast. The official name is United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. London, the capital, is the centre of government for the whole Britain but the local authorities are responsible for education, health care, and the police. G.B. is a constitutional monarchy. It means, the head of the state is the Queen but she can act only on the advice of her ministers. The constitution of the U.K. is unwritten, it is based on custom, tradition and common law. The supreme law-making body in the country is Parliament. It consists of the House of Commons and the House of Lord. British Parliamentary system is one of the oldest in the world, it developed slowly during the 13th century, after King John’s signature of Magna Charta in 1215. House of Commons has 650 elected members, who are called the members of Parliament (Mps). They are elected by the people from a particular area. House of Lords has little power. Parliamentary elections are held every 5 years or less. The leader of the majority party in Parliament becomes Prime Minister and he or she chooses the MPs who will run the different department of government – the ministries. The Prime Minister and the most important ministers make up the cabinet (vlada), which is the real government of the country. The present Prime Minister is Tony Blair from Labour party, who replaced John Major. The Prime Minister lives in London in Downing Street 10. There are 3 main political parties: the Labour Party – left wing; the Conservation Party – right wing and the Social Democrat Liberal Alliance.
The present ceremonial Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II., the daughter of King George VI. and Queen Elizabeth called the Queen Mother. She was very popular during the Second World War when London was bombed and she refused to leave G.B. The Queen Elizabeth II. was born on 21st April 1926 but the official birthday celebration called Trooping the Colour takes place on the second Saturday in June. She married Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. In 1952 Princess Elizabeth became Queen and Head of Commonwealth. She was crowned in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. Her oldest son is Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales. He is to the heir (dědic) to the throne. He was born in 1948 and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and at University College of Wales. He was married Lady Diana Spencer and now he is widower (vdovec). She worked as an assistant in a London kindergarten (nursery school) before she became the Princess of Wales. They have got 2 sons, William and Henry. The second child of Queen Elizabeth II. is Princess Anne, Princess Royal. She is married to Captain Mark Phillips. They have 2 children. Now they are divorced and Princess Anne is married the second husband. She was born in 1950. The third child is Prince Andrew, the Duke of York. She is married Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. They have got 2 girls. The youngest Elizabeth’s son is Prince Edward. He was born in 1964 and still single ???.
British national flag is called Union Jack. It is symbolizes the Union of England, Scotland and Ireland. It dates back from 1801. The origin of the name is uncertain. „Jack“ was first used in the British Navy as the name of the flag at the main masthead (tiráž).Each country has its cross in the flag: The red cross of saint George for England on a white ground, the white diagonal cross of Saint Andrew for Scotland on a blue ground, the red diagonal cross of Saint Patrick for Ireland on a white ground. The Welsh flag doesn’t appear on the Union Jack