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The main thing to remember is that there are four countries: England , Northern Ireland , Scotland and Wales . It is governed by a parliamentary system with its seat of government in London, the capital, but with three devolved national administrations in Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh, the capitals of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland respectively.
The monarchy The present monarch, Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II is Heir Apparent to the throne. Queen Elizabeth II is a 'constitutional monarch '. This means that although she is the head of the state, the country is actually run by the government, led by the Prime Minister (the current Prime Minister is Gordon Brown, who assumed the position in June 2007). Her Majesty The Queen's title in the United Kingdom is: 'Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland'. Queen Elizabeth II Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Gordon Brown
The Queen's Guard are responsible for guarding Buckingham Palace and St. James's Palace in London. They usually consist of Foot Guards (guards on foot) wearing uniforms of red tunics and bearskins (hats). When The Queen is in residence, there are four Foot Guards at the front of the building; when she is away there are two. The 18-inch-tall (45.7cm) bearskins worn by the Foot Guards are made of real bearskin from Canadian brown bears. They were originally used to appear taller and more intimidating in wars. Traditionally the Queen's Guards are not allowed to move but they are not expected to stand still for more than ten minutes. Every so often, they march up and down in front of their sentry box
Currency The pound sterling , often simply called the pound, is the currency of the United Kingdom. It is subdivided into 100 pence (singular: penny). Its symbol is: £ Today, 1 GBP is 1,06612 EUR
The flag The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack , is the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The current design dates from the Union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. As we can see, the Welsh flag is not represented in the Union Jack. Why?? The Welsh dragon does not appear on the flag because when the first Union Flag was created in 1606, Wales was already united with England from the 13th century. This meant that Wales was a Principality and not a Kingdom and as such could not be included.
Meals and Meal Times <ul><li>They have three main meals a day: </li></ul><ul><li>* Breakfast - between 7:00 and 9:00, </li></ul><ul><li>* Lunch - between 12:00 and 1:30 p.m. </li></ul><ul><li>* Dinner (sometimes called Supper) - The main meal. Eaten anytime between 6:30 and 8:00 p.m. (Evening meal) </li></ul><ul><li>On Sundays the main meal of the day is often eaten at midday instead of in the evening. This meal usually is a Roast Dinner consisting of a roast meat, yorkshire pudding and two or three kinds of vegetables. </li></ul>
British Traditional Food <ul><li>Most people around the world seem to think a typical English breakfast consists of eggs, bacon, sausages, fried bread, mushrooms, baked beans and a cup of coffee. This is called a 'Full English‘. </li></ul>Nowadays, however, a typical English breakfast is more likely to be a bowl of cereals, a slice of toast, orange juice and a cup of coffee. What is a typical English Breakfast? In the winter many people will eat "porridge" or boiled oats.
Some of the most popular traditional dishes Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. This is England's traditional Sunday lunch, which is a family affair. Toad-in-the-Hole (sausages covered in batter and roasted.) Similar to Yorkshire Pudding but with sausages placed in the batter before cooking.
Roast Meats ( cooked in the oven for about two hours) Typical meats for roasting are joints of beef, pork, lamb or a whole chicken. Fish and chips. Fish (cod, haddock, huss, plaice) deep fried in flour batter with chips (fried potatoes) dressed in malt vinegar. This is England's traditional take-away food. Fish and chips are not normally home cooked but bought at a fish and chip shop ("chippie" ) to eat on premises or as a "take away"
Education British children are required by law to have an education until they are 16 years old. Education is compulsory, but school is not, children are not required to attend school. They could be educated at home. <ul><li>School holidays : </li></ul><ul><li>The main school holidays are: </li></ul><ul><li>* Christmas- 2 weeks </li></ul><ul><li>* Spring - 2 weeks </li></ul><ul><li>* Summer - 6 weeks </li></ul><ul><li>There are also one week holidays: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>end of October </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>mid February </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>end of May </li></ul></ul>
Children normally start primary school at the age of four or five, but many schools now have a reception year for four year olds. Children normally leave at the age of 11, moving on to secondary school (High school). British children are required to attend school until they are 16 years old. At the age of 16, students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland take an examination called the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education). After completing the GCSE, some students leave school, others go onto technical college , whilst others continue at high school for two more years and take a further set of standardized exams, known as A levels , in three or four subjects. These exams determine whether a student is eligible for university .