There is usually not much news about in the UK at this time of year, because many people are on holiday. Prince Philip, the Queen's husband, was the biggest news story for days after being flown to hospital with chest pains on Christmas Eve.The Prince, who is 90, had a minor heart operation done to help blood flow round his heart. He was then kept in hospital for four days to make sure he was recovering well. The Queen and his children visited him after the first day, which is apparently unusual. Reporters say the Royal Family do not usually visit people in hospital until they have been there for a few days.However, the family went on to celebrate Christmas exactly as they usually do, with a visit to church on Christmas morning and a shoot on Boxing Day. Prince Philip had Christmas dinner served by the hospital, which they said he enjoyed.
A survey of new parents has found that Harry was the most common name for a baby boy last year, with Olivia the most common name for girls.Oliver and Jack were at second and third place for boys, with Lily and Sophie for girls.The names which rose most in popularity included Eliza for a girl and Riley -- not known as a first name at all until recently -- for a boy. Bella and Esme rose in popularity for girls, perhaps after being used in the Twilight vampire films, while Jensen -- the name of an F1 racing driver -- became more popular for boys.
Tickets have gone on sale for the first tours of the new Harry Potter experience. The Making Of Harry Potter is a three-hour tour of the film sets, props and effects used in the making of the eight films about the boy wizard.Visitors will be able to walk onto some of the best-known sets from the films, including the Great Hall and Dumbledore's office.Demand for the tours is already so high that weekend and school holiday opening hours have been extended, even though the attraction does not open until the end of March 2012.
People do a lot of shopping at this time of year. First they are buying Christmas presents. The shops are actually shut on Christmas Day, although online retailers did very well on that day this year. On the following day, Boxing Day, the shops open again with the sales on and it is now one of the busiest days of the year.Shops are hoping to do very well in these sales as it has not been a good trading year. The December sales have now become very popular with Chinese visitors and several major department stores have begun to hire Mandarin-speakers to help these customers.