Learning English - Words in the News
19 April, 2006 - Published 13:26 GMT
The Queen's Birthday
Queen Elizabeth II starts celebrations of her 80th birthday on Wednesday with a lunch for ninety-nine people exactly her age. The guests, who were all born on April 21, 1926, were invited to the Queen's London home, Buckingham Palace, after being chosen in a ballot. This report from Stephen Evans:
The hundred citizens, including the Queen, who are nearly octogenarians - her and her guests' eightieth birthdays don't actually fall till Friday - will gather for drinks in the picture gallery at Buckingham Palace followed by a lunch there together. On Friday, the Queen will have a less formal family dinner and a walk-about in front of crowds at Windsor Castle near London.
The celebrations are prompting reflection on Britain's system of constitutional monarchy where real power is wielded by elected politicians but a monarch who inherits the role is formally head of state.
Scandal and publicity have altered the role in recent years, shining an unforgiving light on what was for centuries a mystical, remote position. Despite the changes, there is no obvious appetite in Britain for any other form of government.
Stephen Evans, BBC
are prompting reflection
shining an unforgiving light on
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