It has been a hectic year for the UK: Sputnik looks back at the most notable events that thrust the kingdom into the spotlight this year, some of which possibly left a lasting impression on its history.
Theresa May’s resignation as prime minister of the United Kingdom was probably one of the most notable (if not THE most notable) events to rock the country’s political landscape this year.
May’s last several months as prime minister also witnessed several members of her cabinet resigning from their posts due to their disagreements with her over Brexit.
Having relinquished her office on 23 July, she now remains as a backbencher in the House of Commons.
BoJo Goes to Number 10
Boris Johnson’s emergence as May’s successor could probably also be considered a momentous occasion, in no small part due the extravagant reputation of the former mayor of London and foreign secretary.
During his tumultuous political career, Johnson managed to gain quite a bit of attention due to the numerous gaffes and blunders he managed to commit, such as likening the FIFA World Cup in Russia to the 1936 Olympic Games that were held in Nazi Germany, or writing an offensive limerick about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In December, the Conservatives triumphed at the parliamentary election, with Boris Johnson himself proclaiming that voters had essentially handed the Tories a “huge great stonking mandate”.
This electoral victory seems to have essentially paved the way for the UK’s upcoming secession from the European Union, though it still remains to be seen how exactly the Brexit saga will end.
Terror on London Bridge
On 29 November, a 28-year old British national named Usman Khan, who was already convicted of plotting a terrorist attack in 2012 and was released on parole in 2018, went on a stabbing rampage on London Bridge, killing two people and injuring three before being shot by cops.
Bride of Terrorist
A British-born female teenager named Shamima Begum, who in 2015 left the country for Syria to join the terrorist organisation known as Daesh*, managed to present the UK authorities with quite a conundrum this year when she announced her intent to return home.
The Home Office’s decision to strip Begum of her British citizenship sparked intense debate about how she and other women like her should be treated.
The Prince’s Speech
The scandal involving British Prince Andrew’s controversial friendship with convicted sex offender and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, as well as his alleged liaison with Epstein’s “sex slave” Virginia Giuffre (Roberts), was thrust into the limelight when the Duke of York attempted to address these issues during an interview with the BBC.
This move, however, seems to have backfired spectacularly, evoking a severe public backlash and even being dubbed as a “PR disaster” by media, with BBC host Emily Maitlis, who interviewed the Duke, claiming that it wasn’t an “attempt to bring down the Royals”.
Harry and Meghan Plus One
On 6 May, a new member of the British royal family entered the world as Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry, gave birth to their son Archie, who has become the seventh person in the line of succession to the British throne.
*Daesh, also known as ISIS/IS/Islamic State, is a terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.