The United Kingdom is made up of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It has a long history as a major player in international affairs and plays a significant role in the EU, UN and Nato though on the 24th of June 2016, United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.
Britain was the world's first industrialised country. Its economy remains one of the largest, but it has for many years been based on service industries rather than on manufacturing.
According to the Office of National Statistics, the UK population in 2016 was 65,648,100 people.
The United Kingdom is the 22nd largest country in the world, the fourth largest in Europe, and the third largest in the European Union by population.
London, the capital city, is also the largest city in the UK. In 2016 the population of London was 8,787,892 people.
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a queen and a parliament that has two houses: the House of Lords, with 574 life peers, 92 hereditary peers, and 26 bishops; and the House of Commons, which has 651 popularly elected members. Supreme legislative power is vested in parliament, which sits for five years unless dissolved sooner.
Elizabeth II became queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1952 upon the death of her father, George VI.
In September 2015, she became Britain's longest-reigning monarch, surpassing the record of her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria. She is also head of state of 16 independent countries including Canada and Australia. As a constitutional monarch, her role in the legislative process is largely ceremonial.
On the 13th of July 2016, Theresa May has been appointed as the second female Prime Minister at an audience with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.
The Conservative leader vowed to unite those divided by the EU referendum and reiterated that there would be no second referendum attempts to join the European Union and instead pledged to set out economic plans to deal with the current instability.
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which triggers two years of formal negotiations, will be invoked before the end of March 2017. In practice this means the UK will be out of the EU by the summer of 2019.
The aftermath of Brexit saw the the pound currency declining to a three-year low at the end of June 2016 against the euro following Theresa May's announcement that the UK would begin formal Brexit negotiations by the end of March taking its fall from a pre-referendum rate of over 1.30 euros to a low of 1.09 euros in October. By 22 December it had regained some ground back to a pound being worth 1.18 euros and $1.23 – compared with $1.47 pre-referendum.
On July 26, 2017 - the Sterling has steadied to a one week high of $1.30 with hopes for more political stability amidst uncertainty over Brexit and Hung Parliament. At the beginning of 2018, the Sterling has been fluctuating around $1.40.