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10 May 2017

Changes in the Royal Family

There was a lot of excitement last week about a meeting being held at Buckingham Palace for Royal staff. People thought that something major had happened in the Royal Family, and that perhaps someone had died.

We then found out that the Queen's husband, Prince Philip, has decided to retire. He is 95 and will not take on any more official visits or jobs after this August. Younger members of the family, like Prince Harry and Prince William, will be taking on more of his role.

English wine in danger

You may not know this, but the UK produces some very good wine. Most of the vineyards are in the south of England which has the warmest weather.

Most of the wines are sparkling, but not all of them. French champagne producers have invested in planting grapes in the UK, and the amount of land used for growing grapes has doubled in the last 10 years.

But last week the weather got very cold, and there was a bad frost which is unusual in May. One grower said it was "the worst frost since 1997". This means very bad damage was caused to the growing grapes. Wine makers did their best to keep the plants from freezing but they warn that the harvest is likely to be half as large as usual.

Another odd weather story

You probably think the weather in the UK is very wet. But it has been so dry this year that we are being asked to save water. October to March (our winter) was the driest in the UK for more than 20 years, and rainfall in April was only 40 per cent of what we would usually get.

People are being asked to have showers rather than baths, wash their cars with a bucket and sponge, and put plants in the garden which like dry conditions.

What happens when people die in the UK?

We have special ceremonies called funerals. Until now, these have usually been very serious. People wear dark clothes, and the officials who arrange funerals dress very smartly.

But something different is happening. One of the biggest funeral companies says people want to celebrate the life of the dead person, and they are doing it in unusual ways.

So in the last two years there have been funerals where staff had to dress up as Darth Vader. There has been a superhero funeral, with guests dressed as Superman, Batman, Captain America and Buzz Lightyear. There has been a Spiderman funeral, and another where everyone was asked to wear leopard print clothes.


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