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4. Elizabeth Is Proclaimed Queen

Even before she became queen, Elizabeth served the government as a skilled ambassador. In 1948 she visited Paris and was acclaimed by the French people. In1951 she and her husband made a six-week tour of all the provinces of Canada and then flew to Washington, D.C., for a brief visit with President and Mrs. Harry S. Truman at Blair House.

The royal couple was in Kenya, on the first stage of a five-month tour to Australia and New Zealand, when George VI died on Feb. 6, 1952. Elizabeth automatically became queen. She and her husband immediately flew to London. On February 8 the queen took the oath of accession before the Privy Council.

The coronation took place on June 2, 1953. Elizabeth was crowned queen of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and about 50 other lands.

In 1957 the queen conferred upon her husband the title prince of the United Kingdom. In 1958 she named Prince Charles, her oldest son, Prince of Wales. He was invested as the Prince of Wales in 1969. He married Lady Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981.

On Feb. 8, 1960, the queen announced that a new surname, Mountbatten-Windsor, would be borne by the third generation of her family. Occupants of the throne and heirs apparent remain Windsors.

5. Interesting Facts

No King or Queen has entered the House of Commons since 1642, when Charles l stormed in with his soldiers and tried to arrest five members of Parliament who were there.

The Houses of Parliament is also called the Palace of Westminster as it is and was a royal palace. The last monarch to live here, Henry VIII, moved out in 1512. Parliament has met in the Palace of Westminster since around 1550.

England is the only country in the UK not to have it's own separate parliament.

The Northern Ireland Assembly of 108 members was elected in June 1998. In May 1999 the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and a Welsh Assembly in Cardiff were established.

Despite Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland having more control over their countries, the UK parliament in Westminster (London) retains responsibility for areas such as defence and foreign affairs. And they all have continued representation in the UK Parliament at Westminster in London.



Oxford Street is world famous for having one of the largest densities of shops per square foot of any shopping area in the world. In excess of 300 shops trade along this near mile and a half long road and around 60,000 people work here. While traffic is restricted along its length, buses and taxis make it a busy road but together with the 4 tube stations found in this area they also make it one where public transport is easy to find. Constantly touted by the London Mayor for pedestrianisation this has yet to be put into action. Oxford Street runs from Marble Arch at its Western end to Tottenham Court Road (St Giles Circus) at its Eastern end. The HMV record store at 363 Oxford Street is the oldest record shop in the world. Oxford Street was originally part of a Roman highway which joined Hampshire with Colchester. It was in the late part of the eighteenth century and into the early nineteenth century that Oxford Street started to grow as a shopping area with some large retailers opening stores in this location. These days some 200 million visitors come to Oxford Street annually of which about 9 million are visitors from overseas. 60% of all visitors to London visit this shopping area. One of the highlights each year along Oxford Street are the Christmas lights. Each year in November a celebrity or bunch of celebrities are invited to flick the switch to turn on the themed lighting which hovers over the entire length of the road. A wonderful sight of an evening and adds to the festive feel and atmosphere of Christmas shopping.

Exploring Greenwich is a must for all tourists, now it's even better value than ever with FREE entrance to the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. From March to November, selected vessels (see timetable), cross the Meridian Line, passing the Millennium Dome then sailing through the Thames Flood Barrier. Your vessel then returns to Greenwich Pier.

Thames River Services provide river trips and passenger boat cruises from Westminster Pier, London to Greenwich Pier via The Tower of London and The Thames Barrier. Sightseeing tours arranged for groups, families  and individuals. Regular daily departures.

7. Thames River Services are the original Westminster - Greenwich river cruise operator with over 50 years experience.  We have now extended our trip to view the Thames Flood Barrier. Passengers can now cruise pass the Millennium Dome, view the Thames Barrier and then visit Greenwich.

A visit to London is incomplete without a cruise along the Thames, either as an introduction to the many sights and scenes to be enjoyed during your stay or as a treasured memory of your visit. All year round, our boat service leaves regularly from Westminster Pier, passing historic and modern places of interest.

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