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The Royal Family Today



Daring the 20th century British monarchy changed, as changed social political situation in the country. The accession to the throne of King George VI after the abdication of his uncle Edward caused a constitutional crisis, but it also showed that the representatives of the Royal Family are not icons, they are humans, with all their feelings and weaknesses. Till the rest of their lives Edward and his wife remained popular celebrities in Britain and their story was told as an example of the power of love.

King George VI established many traditions, which made monarchy closer to people and more popular — he started the traditions of attending the annual football Cup Final match at Wembley Stadium, of speaking to the people of Britain and the Commonwealth on the radio on Christmas day and of making the life of the Royal Family more open to the general public.

During World War II the members of the Royal Family took an active part in all events — they did not leave the country, which was constantly threatened by Germanic plane attacks and refused to leave Buckingham Palace even after it had been bombed. Both young Princesses — Elisabeth and Margaret visited military hospitals to raise the spirit of wounded soldiers.

Elizabeth became Queen in 1952 after the death of George VI. She is married to Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and has four children — Charles, the Prince of Wales, Anne the Princess Royal, Andrew, the Duke of York and Edward, the Duke of Wessex. Elizabeth and her family are the most popular celebrities in Britain; the Queen has done much to the image of modern monarchy. The Queen signified the formalities of the monarchy — the BBC was allowed to make a documentary film about the every day of the Royal family. She regularly visits the Commonwealth countries and she also stated a tradition of the "walkabout" — an informal feature of every formal visit, when she walks among the public crowds and stops to talk to some people.

The life of the Royal family today is full of problems typical to any ordinary family — many members of the family are divorced, they often have problems and scandals which are widely discussed in Britain. At the same time the Crown is rather popular among the British and still remains a potent symbol of British life.

Task 4.Today there are many opinions for and against the British monarchy. People say it is not democratic. Study the table representing peculiarities of the British life connected with the existence of the Crown. Compare them to other countries.

 

In Britain ... In other democratic countries ...
People are "subjects" — subjects of Her Majesty the Queen They have citizens
The monarch is a living symbol of the country Have material symbols of the country — usually flags and emblems
Royal ceremonies are the most popular and colourful ceremonies of the year Public holidays and parades are popular
The Crown attracts numbers of tourists, which is important for the country's economy There is no such attraction

Task 5.Discuss some roles of the Crown in the British life. Which, in your opinion, is the most important? What other roles could you think of?



Roles:

1. Monarch is the personal embodiment of the government of the country. People can be critical of the real government (the Prime Minister and the Cabinet) and not be unpatriotic to the symbol of government — the Queen.

2.Monarch makes the life of the Prime Minister easier — the Queen can perform necessary overseas visit, leaving home affairs to the government.

3.Monarchy is a symbol of British stability — the government can be dismissed, but the Queen remains.

Task 6.Finish the sentences.

1.The United Nations Organisation was created by ... for ...

2.The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was formed as ...

3.Britain proclaimed nuclear weapons the cornerstone of defence policy because ...

4.Britain began to lose a reputation of the world power in ... because ...

5.The policy of decolonisation was aimed at...

6.Today the British Commonwealth is ...

7.The establishment of the welfare system in Britain provided ...

8.In the 1970s, Britain was considered a sick man of Europe because ...

9.Britain joined EEC in ... after ...

10. Today the British Crown still remains a popular institution because ...





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