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The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or UK, is in Western Europe. It comprises the island of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland (Northern Ireland), together with many smaller islands. The mainland areas lie between latitudes 49N and 59N (the Shetland Islands reach to nearly 61N), and longitudes 8W to 2E. The Royal Greenwich Observatory, near London, is the defining point of the Prime Meridian. The United Kingdom has a total area of approximately 245,000 km. The UK lies between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, and comes within 35 km (22 miles) of the northwest coast of France, from which it is separated by the English Channel. Northern Ireland shares a 360 km international land boundary with the Republic of Ireland. The Channel Tunnel ("Chunnel"), bored beneath the English Channel, now links the UK with France.

The Union Jack

The Union Flag or Union Jack is the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and was also used throughout the former British Empire. It retains an official or semi-official status in many Commonwealth Realms. It is commonly referred to as the Union Jack or more properly Union Flag as it only becomes a Jack when flown from a ship's jack mast. In Canada the flag is officially called the Royal Union Flag. The jack flown by ships of the United States Navy is also referred to as the Union Jack. The current design of the Union Flag or Jack dates from the union of Ireland and Great Britain in 1801 with the formation of the United Kingdom. The Court of the Lord Lyon, which has criminal jurisdiction in heraldic matters in Scotland, confirms that the Union Flag "popularly called The Union Jack, is the correct flag for all citizens and corporate bodies of the United Kingdom to fly to demonstrate their loyalty and their nationality." Its correct proportions are 1:2. However, the version officially used by the British Army modifies the proportions to 3:5. A careful examination of the flag shows that, contrary to popular belief, the flag does not have reflectional symmetry, but has a right side and a wrong side up. A mnemonic to remind those flying the flag which end is up is Wide white top the broad white stripe (composing part of the cross of Saint Andrew) should be above the red stripe (the cross of Saint Patrick) in the upper hoist of the flag (the hoist is the half of the flag near the flagpole). This is particularly important because the flag is flown upside down as a distress signal.

London containing the City of London is the capital of the United Kingdom and of England and is recognised as one of the key "world cities".

With over seven million inhabitants (Londoners) in Greater London, it is the second-most populous conurbation in Europe, after Moscow. Founded as Londinium, the capital of the Roman province of Britannia, it later rose to become the centre of the British Empire. Today it generates over 17% of the GDP of the UK's economy, the world's fourth largest, and is a major financial centre along with New York and Tokyo. For several centuries, London has been one of the most influential powers in politics, finance, arts and fashion and remains so today.

God Save The Queen

"God Save the Queen" (alternatively "God Save the King") is an anthem used in a number of Commonwealth realms and British Crown Dependencies. It is the sole national anthem of the United Kingdom and some of its territories; one of the two national anthems of New Zealand (since 1977) and those of Britain's territories that have their own additional local anthem; and the royal anthem of Australia (since 1984), Canada (since 1980), Jamaica, and Tuvalu, as well as Gibraltar and the Isle of Man. In countries not previously part of the British Empire, the tune of "God Save the Queen" has also been used as the basis for different patriotic songs, though still generally connected with royal ceremony. The authorship of the song is unknown, and beyond its first verse, which is consistent, it has many historic and extant versions: Since its first publication, different verses have been added and taken away and, even today, different publications include various selections of verses in various orders. In general only one, or

sometimes two verses are sung, but on rare occasions three.

The sovereign and his or her consort are saluted with the entire anthem, while other members of the royal family who are entitled to royal salute (such as the Prince of Wales) receive just the first six bars. The first six bars also form all or part of the Vice Regal Salute in some Commonwealth realms outside the UK (e.g., in Canada, governors general and lieutenant governors are at official events saluted with the first six bars of "God Save the Queen" followed by the first four and last four bars of "O Canada"), as well as the salute given to governors of British overseas territories. The words of the song, like its title, are adapted to the gender of monarch, with "King" replacing "Queen", "he" replacing "she", and so forth, when a king reigns.