Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

35. Monarchy

Horse Racing - 2015 Investec Derby Festival - Derby Day - Epsom Racecourse

Don’t listen to all the talk of republicanism from down under— you just have to look at the 20,000 people patiently queuing to pay their respects to Richard III in March to realise that the monarchy is as important to us as ever. Despite Shakespeare’s bleak picture of the king and the condemnation of some historians, we were transfixed by the funeral events and the crowds who lined the routes came from all over the world. Bringing the institution right up to date, the nation has been as enthusiastic to welcome Princess Charlotte as they were her elder brother, George, and The Queen is more popular than ever and will become the longest reigning British monarch in September. It seems that the £500 million tourist income generated by the Royal Family will benefit the nation for a long time to come.

‘Happy and glorious/long to reign over us’
(God Save the Queen)

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