1. Basic facts
Capital city
Great Britain: England, Scotland, Wales

Northern Ireland (Ulster)
Pound sterling (£)
The national flag
The Union Jack composed of 3 crosses: St George's (England); St Andrew's (Scotland); St Patrick's (Ireland)
The national anthem
God Save the Queen
National emblems
rose (England)
leek (Wales)
thistle (Scotland)
shamrock (Ireland)
National motto
honni soit qui mal y pense (shamed be he who thinks ill of it)

2. British institutions
The Government
Executive power
The Prime Minister: Head of the Cabinet
The Cabinet (Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance); the Lord Chancellor (justice); the Home Secretary; the Foreign Secretary; the Defence Secretary …)

Legislative power
The Houses of Parliament:
  • the House of Commons (650 elected members);
  • the House of Lords (92 non-elected members).
The monarch
Queen (or King): represents the nation → a constitutional monarchy

The Commonwealth
The Commonwealth of Nations → an intergovernmental organization of 54 independent member states. (All except Mozambique and Rwanda used to be part of the British Empire)
The Commonwealth was created in 1926: Britain and its dominions agreed that they were 'equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs'.
The member states share common values including the promotion of democracy and human rights.
The Head of the Commonwealth → Queen Elizabeth II.

3. Key dates
William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy) invaded Britain → the Battle of Hastings.
The reign of Henry VIII (monarch with 6 wives) → he caused the Reformation: the Church of England left the Roman Catholic Church to become independent.
The Civil War: Oliver Cromwell became head of the 'republic'.
The abolition of slavery in the British Empire.
The British Empire developed the slave trade during the 18th century to increase its economic prosperity by forcing slaves from Africa to work on its plantations in the West Indies. The British slave trade was ceased in 1807 and slaves in the British Empire emancipated in 1834.
The reign of Queen Victoria: the British Empire was at its height in terms of expansion and prosperity.
King Edward VIII abdicated to marry an American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Elizabeth II's father George VI became King.
Coronation of Elizabeth II.
Prince William, heir to the throne, married Kate Middleton.

4. Places of power
10 Downing Street
Official residence of the Prime Minister
Site of the Houses of Parliament (and Big Ben)
Buckingham Palace
The Queen's official residence in London
The City
The historical centre of London, home to the Stock Exchange and the major banks
Oxford and Cambridge
The two oldest and most prestigious British universities

Exercice n°1
Associez les termes suivants entre eux.
Faites glisser les étiquettes dans les zones prévues à cet effet.
The Union Jack
The Commonwealth
British currency
The Reformation
Great Britain
The United Kingdom
England, Wales & Scotland → 

the United Kingdom + former colonies of the British Empire → 

pound sterling → 

movement that gave rise to the creation of the Church of England → 

England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland → 

the British flag → 

Vérifiez que vous comprenez bien la distinction entre les différents termes.
Exercice n°2
Associez chacune des personnes suivantes à son titre ou à l'une de ces actions.
Faites glisser les étiquettes dans les zones prévues à cet effet.
Henry VIII
the Prime Minister
the Queen
the Queen
the Prime Minister
the Queen
Edward VIII
reigned over the British Empire → 

abdicated to marry an American → 

left the Roman Catholic Church to be able to remarry → 

the head of the cabinet → 

the head of the Commonwealth → 

the head of state → 

lives at 10 Downing Street → 

lives at Buckingham Palace → 

Relisez les fiches pour comprendre vos erreurs si vous n'avez pas su identifier l'un de ces personnages essentiels du Royaume-Uni.