Stowe School is a selective independent school in Stowe, Buckinghamshire. It was opened on 11 May 1923 with 99 schoolboys, with J. F. Roxburgh as the first headmaster; the school is a member of the Rugby Group, the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, the G20 Schools' Group. For boys only, the school is now coeducational, with some 550 boys and 220 girls; the school has been based since its beginnings at Stowe House the country seat of the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos. Along with many of the other buildings on the school's estate, the main house is now a Grade I Listed Building and is maintained by the Stowe House Preservation Trust. Stowe School opened with its first 99 pupils aged 13, on 11 May 1923. There were two boarding Houses and Temple both in the western part of the mansion; the following term Grenville and Chandos Houses were formed in the eastern wing, with Cobham and Grafton following soon afterwards as further parts of the house were converted into accommodation and classrooms.
Chatham was the first purpose-built house, designed by the school’s first architect, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. He had been instrumental in developing a vision for saving Stowe as a new centre of learning to match its crucial role in national culture and politics of the 18th Century, he had bought Stowe Avenue in 1922 before old Etonians presented it as birthday gift to the new school in 1924. Helped by Harry Shaw, who had bought the estate the previous year, the new school succeeded in saving Stowe House and landscape gardens from demolition at their sale in October 1922; the school boasted a double foundation. Edward Montauban chaired the preparatory school committee seeking to found a new leading public school after the First World War and was the first to envisage the new school at Stowe; the finance came through the Rev. Percy Warrington and the Martyrs Memorial Trust, giving rise to the group of Allied Schools. J. F. Roxburgh was Stowe’s founding Headmaster, his aim was to produce a modern public school concentrating on the individual, without the unpleasantness of fagging or arcane names common in other schools.
Instead, he sought to instil a new ethos enthused with the beauty of Stowe’s unique environment where the best of traditional education would be tempered by liberal learning and every pupil would “know beauty when he sees it all his life”. Pupils and staff would relate in a civilized and open way, showing confidence and respect based on Christian values; such was Roxburgh’s success in developing this vision that he was recognized as a formative figure in 20th-century English education, “greater than Arnold” in Gavin Maxwell’s words, a pupil at the school. Stowe’s early success led to its rapid expansion. Walpole House was added in 1934 and the school reached 500 pupils by 1935; the art school, sports pavilion, staff housing date from this period too, when the Legal & General Company provided financial support during the recession. Stowe made rapid progress academically too. Teachers included T. H. White, author of The Once and Future King, the Marxist historian George Rudé. Among sporting feats Old Stoic Bernard Gadney captained England’s rugby team to take the triple crown in 1936, while in the early 1930s Laddie Lucas and John Langley were both national boy golf champions while still in Grenville House, helped by the golf course laid out in 1924.
Sir Robert Lorimer’s magnificent Chapel was opened in 1929 by Prince George, while in 1933, on the school’s 10th anniversary, the Prince of Wales launched the repair of the garden buildings with the restoration of the Queen’s Temple as a Music School. The Second World War saw 270 Old Stoics killed in active service. There were 242 decorations; these included the Victoria Cross for two former contemporaries in Chatham House, Major Jack Anderson and Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire, the founder of the Cheshire Homes. The school's cricket ground is used as a first class ground by Northamptonshire CCC; the Stowe Corner of Silverstone Circuit is named after the school. A Southern Railway "Schools Class" steam No. 928, built in 1934 was named after the school, is preserved at the Bluebell Railway in East Sussex. In 2016, a Daily Telegraph investigator posing as a parent of a Russian pupil was told by the school registrar that whilst pupils would always be expected to pass the entrance exam, it would help secure a place if a borderline child's parents were able to donate "about £100,000 or something like that."
There are 13 boarding houses: 4 girl houses and 1 mixed Sixth Form house. These boarding houses are named after members of the family of Duke of Buckingham and Chandos; each house has a letter assigned to it. 1923–1949: J. F. Roxburgh 1949–1958: Eric Reynolds 1958–1964: Donald Crichton-Miller 1964–1979: Robert Drayson 1979–1989: Christopher Turner 1989–2003: Jeremy Nichols 2003–: Anthony Wallersteiner Former pupils of Stowe School are known as Old Stoics. Sir Richard Branson is the President of the Old Stoic Society. Old Stoics include: Michael Alexander, prisoner of war Major Jack Anderson, recipient of Victoria Cross Lord Annan and Provost of King's College, Cambridge 3rd Earl Attlee, grandson of Clement Attlee George Barclay, Battle of Britain pilot Alexander Bernstein, Baron Bernstein of Craigweil, television executive, Labour Party member of the House of Lords Oliver Bertram, motor racing driver Richard Boston, English journalist and author John Boyd-Carpenter, Baron Boyd-Carpenter, British Conservative Party politician Sir Ri
Sir Edward Emile Tomkins was a British diplomat, who served as British Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1970 to 1972, British Ambassador to France from 1972 to 1975. He owned Winslow Hall in Winslow, Buckinghamshire attributed to Christopher Wren, from 1959. Tomkins was the son of Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Leith Tomkins and his French wife, was raised in France and thus grew up speaking perfect French, he was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. He joined the Diplomatic Service in 1939. After joining the Army in 1940 during World War II, he served as a liaison officer with the Free French Forces in the Middle East, he was captured by German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in 1941 while making his way back to British lines from the battle of Bir Hakeim with French General Marie Pierre Kœnig. He was imprisoned in Camp 41, a prisoner-of-war camp near Parma in northern Italy, alongside Pat Gibson and Nigel Strutt. Strutt was repatriated on medical grounds, Gibson and Tomkins were moved to another camp.
He and Gibson escaped from the new camp, spent 81 days walking 500 miles south to Bari, crossing the Apennines and German lines, to return to Allied-held territory. He was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for his services, he returned to the Diplomatic Service in 1944, was posted to Moscow until 1946. He returned to Whitehall in 1948, to become Assistant Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary, serving under Ernest Bevin and Herbert Morrison, he was First Secretary in Washington, D. C. in 1951 in Paris from 1955, in charge of press relations. In Paris, he met Gillian Benson, daughter of Air Commodore C. E. Benson, they married in 1955. He was appointed CVO in 1957, CMG in 1960. After another period in London, he was Minister in Bonn, he returned to Washington as Minister in 1967. Advanced to KCMG in 1969, he was Head of Mission and Ambassador at The Hague from 1970 to 1972, replaced Christopher Soames as Ambassador to France in 1972. Agence France Presse lauded his appointment an historic breakthrough in Franco-British relations – the first fluent speaker of French and Roman Catholic to hold the position, together with a record of service with the Free French Forces in North Africa.
He spoke excellent German and Italian. Supported by British Prime Minister Edward Heath, Tomkins took a leading role in the negotiations for Britain to join the European Economic Community in 1973, he established friendly personal and working relationships with two French presidents, Georges Pompidou and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. He retired on leaving Paris in 1975, advanced to GCMG, he became a Grand Officier of the Légion d'honneur in 1984. Tomkins lived at the Christopher Wren-designed Winslow Hall in Buckinghamshire, he bought the derelict and about-to-be-demolished house in 1959, he and his wife restored it. They lived there from 1975. Sir Edward offered the house for sale in May 2007, four months before his death, for £3,000,000, comprising six bedroom suites, two self-contained flats and surrounded by 22 acres of land, he was elected as a Conservative member of Buckinghamshire County Council from 1977 to 1985, became a governor of Stowe School. In 1955 Tomkins married Gillian Benson, a daughter of Air-Commodore Constantine Benson by his wife Lady Morvyth Benson, a daughter of William Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley.
They had a son and two daughters. Lady Tomkins died in 2003. Sir Edward Tomkins died at the age of 91 in 2007, was survived by his three children. Leahy, John. "Tomkins, Sir Edward Emile". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/99118. Alan Campbell. Obituary: Sir Edward Tomkins; the Guardian. Thursday 27 September 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2008. Obituary, The Daily Telegraph, 25 September 2007, link updated 21 December 2008. Obituary, The Times, 28 September 2007 Sir Edward Tomkins GCMG CVO at the Wayback Machine – obituary at Old Amplefordians website Darryl Landy; the Peerage: Sir Edward Emile Tomkins
Helmut Heinrich Waldemar Schmidt was a German politician and member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, who served as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1974 to 1982. Before becoming Chancellor, he had served as Minister of Finance. In the latter role he gained credit for his financial policies, he had served as Minister of Economics and as acting Foreign Minister. As Chancellor, he focused on international affairs, seeking "political unification of Europe in partnership with the United States" and issuing proposals that led to the NATO Double-Track Decision in 1979 to deploy US Pershing II missiles to Europe, he was an energetic diplomat who sought European co-operation and international economic co-ordination and was the leading force in creating the European Monetary System in 1978. He was re-elected chancellor in 1976 and 1980, but his coalition fell apart in 1982 with the switch by his coalition allies, the Free Democratic Party, he retired from Parliament in 1986, after clashing with the SPD's left wing, who opposed him on defence and economic issues.
In 1986 he was a leading proponent of a European Central Bank. Helmut Schmidt was born as the eldest of two sons of teachers Ludovica Koch and Gustav Ludwig Schmidt in Barmbek, a rough working-class district of Hamburg, in 1918. Schmidt studied at Hamburg Lichtwark School, graduating in 1937. Schmidt's father was born the biological son of a German Jewish banker, Ludwig Gumpel, a Christian waitress, Friederike Wenzel, covertly adopted, although this was kept a family secret for many years; this was confirmed publicly by Schmidt in 1984, after Valéry Giscard d'Estaing revealed the fact to journalists with Schmidt's assent. Schmidt himself was a non-practising Lutheran. Schmidt was a group leader in the Hitler Youth organization until 1936, when he was demoted and sent on leave because of his anti-Nazi views. However, newly accessible documents from 1942 praise his "Impeccable national-socialist behaviour", in 1944 his superiors mentioned that Schmidt "stands the ground of national-socialist ideology, knowing that he must pass it on".
On 27 June 1942, he married his childhood sweetheart Hannelore "Loki" Glaser. They had two children: Helmut Walter, Susanne, who works in London for Bloomberg Television. Schmidt resumed his education in Hamburg after the war, graduating in economics and political science in 1949. Schmidt was conscripted into military service in 1937, began serving with an anti-aircraft battery at Vegesack near Bremen during World War II. After brief service on the Eastern Front during the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, including the Siege of Leningrad, he returned to Germany in 1942 to work as a trainer and advisor at the Ministry of Aviation. During his service in World War II, Schmidt was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class, he attended the People's Court as a military spectator at some of the show trials for officers involved in the 20 July plot, in which an unsuccessful attempt was made to assassinate Hitler at Rastenburg, was disgusted by Roland Freisler's conduct. Toward the end of the war, from December 1944 onwards, he served as an Oberleutnant in the Flakartillery on the Western Front during the Battle of the Bulge and the Ardennes Offensive.
He was captured by the British in April 1945 on Lüneburg Heath, was a prisoner of war until August of that year in Belgium. Schmidt joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany in 1946, from 1947-48 was the leader of the Socialist German Student League, the student organisation of the SPD. Upon graduating from the University of Hamburg, where he read Economics, he worked for the government of the city-state of Hamburg, working in the department of Economic Policy. Beginning in 1952, under Karl Schiller, he was a senior figure heading up the Behörde für Wirtschaft und Verkehr, he was elected to the Bundestag in 1953, in 1957 he became a member of the SPD parliamentary party executive. A vocal critic of conservative government policy, his outspoken rhetoric in parliament earned him the nickname Schmidt-Schnauze. In 1958, he joined the national board of the SPD, campaigned against nuclear weapons and the equipping of the Bundeswehr with such devices, he alarmed some in his party by taking part in manoeuveres as a reserve officer in the newly formed Bundeswehr.
In 1962, he gave up his seat in parliament to concentrate on his tasks in Hamburg. The government of the city-state of Hamburg is known as the Senate of Hamburg, from 1961 to 1965, Schmidt was the Innensenator: the senator of the interior, he gained a reputation as a Macher – someone who gets things done regardless of obstacles – by his effective management during the emergency caused by the 1962 flood, during which 300 people drowned. Schmidt used all means at his disposal to alleviate the situation when that meant overstepping his legal authority, including employing the federal police and army units. Describing his actions, Schmidt said, "I wasn't put in charge of these units – I took charge of them!" He swiftly managed the re-housing of thousands of the homeless. In 1965, he was re-elected to the Bundestag. In 1967, after the formation of the Grand C
The Economist is an English-language weekly magazine-format newspaper owned by the Economist Group and edited at offices in London. Continuous publication began under its founder James Wilson in September 1843. In 2015, its average weekly circulation was a little over 1.5 million, about half of which were sold in the United States. Pearson PLC held a 50% shareholding via The Financial Times Limited until August 2015. At that time, Pearson sold their share in the Economist; the Agnelli family's Exor paid £287m to raise their stake from 4.7% to 43.4% while the Economist paid £182m for the balance of 5.04m shares which will be distributed to current shareholders. Aside from the Agnelli family, smaller shareholders in the company include Cadbury, Schroder and other family interests as well as a number of staff and former staff shareholders. A board of trustees formally appoints the editor. Although The Economist has a global emphasis and scope, about two-thirds of the 75 staff journalists are based in the London borough of Westminster.
For the year to March 2016, the Economist Group declared operating profit of £61m. The Economist takes an editorial stance of classical and economic liberalism that supports free trade, free immigration and cultural liberalism; the publication has described itself as "a product of the Caledonian liberalism of Adam Smith and David Hume". It targets educated, cultured readers and claims an audience containing many influential executives and policy-makers; the publication's CEO described this recent global change, first noticed in the 1990s and accelerated in the beginning of the 21st century as a "new age of Mass Intelligence". The Economist was founded by the British businessman and banker James Wilson in 1843, to advance the repeal of the Corn Laws, a system of import tariffs. A prospectus for the "newspaper" from 5 August 1843 enumerated thirteen areas of coverage that its editors wanted the publication to focus on: Original leading articles, in which free-trade principles will be most rigidly applied to all the important questions of the day.
Articles relating to some practical, agricultural, or foreign topic of passing interest, such as foreign treaties. An article on the elementary principles of political economy, applied to practical experience, covering the laws related to prices, rent, exchange and taxes. Parliamentary reports, with particular focus on commerce and free trade. Reports and accounts of popular movements advocating free trade. General news from the Court of St. James's, the Metropolis, the Provinces and Ireland. Commercial topics such as changes in fiscal regulations, the state and prospects of the markets and exports, foreign news, the state of the manufacturing districts, notices of important new mechanical improvements, shipping news, the money market, the progress of railways and public companies. Agricultural topics, including the application of geology and chemistry. Colonial and foreign topics, including trade, produce and fiscal changes, other matters, including exposés on the evils of restriction and protection, the advantages of free intercourse and trade.
Law reports, confined chiefly to areas important to commerce and agriculture. Books, confined chiefly, but not so to commerce and agriculture, including all treatises on political economy, finance, or taxation. A commercial gazette, with prices and statistics of the week. Correspondence and inquiries from the news magazine's readers. Wilson described it as taking part in "a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress", a phrase which still appears on its masthead as the publication's mission, it has long been respected as "one of the most competent and subtle Western periodicals on public affairs". The publication was a major source of financial and economic information for Karl Marx in the formulation of socialist theory. In January 2012, The Economist launched a new weekly section devoted to China, the first new country section since the introduction of a section about the United States in 1942. In August 2015, The Economist Group bought back 5 million of its shares from Pearson.
Pearson's remaining shares would be sold to Exor. The editors of The Economist have been: James Wilson 1843–1857 Richard Holt Hutton 1857–1861 Walter Bagehot, 1861–1877 Daniel Conner Lathbury, 1877–1881 Robert Harry Inglis Palgrave, 1877–1883 Edward Johnstone, 1883–1907 Francis Wrigley Hirst, 1907–1916 Hartley Withers, 1916–1921 Sir Walter Layton, 1922–1938 Geoffrey Crowther, 1938–1956 Donald Tyerman, 1956–1965 Sir Alastair Burnet, 1965–1974 Andrew Knight, 1974–1986 Rupert Pennant-Rea, 1986–1993 Bill Emmott, 1993–2006 John Micklethwait, 2006–2014 Zanny Minton Beddoes, 2015–present When the news magazine was founded, the term "economism" denoted what would today be termed "economic liberalism"; the Economist supports free trade and free immigration. The activist and journalist George Monbiot has described it as neo-liberal while accepti
The Channel Tunnel is a 50.45-kilometre rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent, in England, with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais, near Calais in northern France, beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. It is the only fixed link between the island of the European mainland. At its lowest point, it is 75 m deep below 115 m below sea level. At 37.9 kilometres, the tunnel has the longest underwater section of any tunnel in the world, although the Seikan Tunnel in Japan is both longer overall at 53.85 kilometres and deeper at 240 metres below sea level. The speed limit for trains through the tunnel is 160 kilometres per hour; the tunnel carries high-speed Eurostar passenger trains, the Eurotunnel Shuttle for road vehicles—the largest such transport in the world—and international goods trains. The tunnel connects end-to-end with the LGV High Speed 1 high-speed railway lines. In 2017 through rail services carried 10.3 million passengers and 1.22M tonnes of freight, the Shuttle carried 10.4M passengers, 2.6M cars, 51,000 coaches, 1.6M lorries.
This compares with 11.7 million passengers, 2.6 million lorries and 2.2 million cars through the Port of Dover. Plans for a cross-Channel fixed link appeared as early as 1802, but British political and press pressure over the compromising of national security had disrupted attempts to build a tunnel. An early attempt at building a Channel Tunnel was made in the late 19th century, on the English side, "in the hope of forcing the hand of the English Government"; the eventual successful project, organised by Eurotunnel, began construction in 1988 and opened in 1994. At £5.5 billion, it was at the time the most expensive construction project proposed. The cost amounted to £9 billion, well over its predicted budget. Since its construction, the tunnel has experienced a few mechanical problems. Both fires and cold weather have temporarily disrupted its operation. People have been attempting to use the tunnel to illegally travel to the UK since 1997, creating the ongoing issue of the migrants around Calais on the French side, causing both diplomatic disagreement and violence.
In 1802, Albert Mathieu-Favier, a French mining engineer, put forward a proposal to tunnel under the English Channel, with illumination from oil lamps, horse-drawn coaches, an artificial island positioned mid-Channel for changing horses. Mathieu-Favier's design envisaged a bored two-level tunnel with the top tunnel used for transport and the bottom one for groundwater flows. In 1839, Aimé Thomé de Gamond, a Frenchman, performed the first geological and hydrographical surveys on the Channel, between Calais and Dover. Thomé de Gamond explored several schemes and, in 1856, he presented a proposal to Napoleon III for a mined railway tunnel from Cap Gris-Nez to Eastwater Point with a port/airshaft on the Varne sandbank at a cost of 170 million francs, or less than £7 million. In 1865, a deputation led by George Ward Hunt proposed the idea of a tunnel to the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the day, William Ewart Gladstone. Around 1866, William Low and Sir John Hawkshaw promoted ideas, but apart from preliminary geological studies none were implemented.
An official Anglo-French protocol was established in 1876 for a cross-Channel railway tunnel. In 1881, the British railway entrepreneur Sir Edward Watkin and Alexandre Lavalley, a French Suez Canal contractor, were in the Anglo-French Submarine Railway Company that conducted exploratory work on both sides of the Channel. On the English side a 2.13-metre diameter Beaumont-English boring machine dug a 1,893-metre pilot tunnel from Shakespeare Cliff. On the French side, a similar machine dug 1,669 m from Sangatte; the project was abandoned in May 1882, owing to British political and press campaigns asserting that a tunnel would compromise Britain's national defences. These early works were encountered more than a century during the TML project. A 1907 film, Tunnelling the English Channel by pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès, depicts King Edward VII and President Armand Fallières dreaming of building a tunnel under the English Channel. In 1919, during the Paris Peace Conference, the British prime minister, David Lloyd George brought up the idea of a Channel tunnel as a way of reassuring France about British willingness to defend against another German attack.
The French did not take the idea and nothing came of Lloyd George's proposal. In the 1920s Winston Churchill was an advocate for the Channel Tunnel, using that exact nomenclature in an essay entitled "Should Strategists Veto The Tunnel?" The essay was published on 27 July 1924 in the Weekly Dispatch, argued vehemently against those that believed the tunnel could be used by a Continental enemy in an invasion of Britain. Churchill extolled his enthusiasm for the project again in an article for the Daily Mail on 12 February 1936, "Why Not A Channel Tunnel?"There was another proposal in 1929, but nothing came of this discussion and the idea was shelved. Proponents estimated construction to be about US$150 million; the engineers had addressed the concerns of both nations' military leaders by designing two sumps—one near the coast of each country—that could be flooded at will to block the tunnel. This design feature did not override the concerns of both nations' military leaders, other concerns about hordes of undesirable tourists who would disrupt English habits of living.
Military fears continued during the Second World War. After the fall of France, as Britain prepared for an expected German invasion, a Royal Navy officer in the Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development calcu
Royal Victorian Order
The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood established in 1896 by Queen Victoria. It recognises distinguished personal service to the monarch of the Commonwealth realms, members of the monarch's family, or to any viceroy or senior representative of the monarch; the present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is the sovereign of the order, the order's motto is Victoria, its official day is 20 June. The order's chapel is the Savoy Chapel in London. There is no limit on the number of individuals honoured at any grade, admission remains at the sole discretion of the monarch, with each of the order's five grades and one medal with three levels representing different levels of service. While all those honoured may use the prescribed styles of the order—the top two grades grant titles of knighthood, all grades accord distinct post-nominal letters—the Royal Victorian Order's precedence amongst other honours differs from realm to realm and admission to some grades may be barred to citizens of those realms by government policy.
Prior to the close of the 19th century, most general honours within the British Empire were bestowed by the sovereign on the advice of her British ministers, who sometimes forwarded advice from ministers of the Crown in the Dominions and colonies. Queen Victoria thus established on 21 April 1896 the Royal Victorian Order as a junior and personal order of knighthood that allowed her to bestow directly to an empire-wide community honours for personal services; the organisation was founded a year preceding Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, so as to give the Queen time to complete a list of first inductees. The order's official day was made 20 June of each year, marking the anniversary of Queen Victoria's accession to the throne. In 1902, King Edward VII created the Royal Victorian Chain "as a personal decoration for royal personages and a few eminent British subjects" and it was the highest class of the Royal Victorian Order, it is today distinct from the order, though it is issued by the chancery of the Royal Victorian Order.
After 1931, when the Statute of Westminster came into being and the Dominions of the British Empire became independent states, equal in status to Britain, the Royal Victorian Order remained an honour open to all the King's realms. The order was open to foreigners from its inception, the Prefect of Alpes-Maritimes and the Mayor of Nice being the first to receive the honour in 1896; the reigning monarch is at the apex of the Royal Victorian Order as its Sovereign, followed by the Grand Master. Queen Elizabeth II appointed her daughter, Princess Royal, to the position in 2007. Below the Grand Master are five officials of the organisation: the Chancellor, held by the Lord Chamberlain. Thereafter follow those honoured with different grades of the order, divided into five levels: the highest two conferring accolades of knighthood and all having post-nominal letters and, the holders of the Royal Victorian Medal in either gold, silver or bronze. Foreigners may be admitted as honorary members, there are no limits to the number of any grade, promotion is possible.
The styles of knighthood are not used by princes, princesses, or peers in the uppermost ranks of the society, save for when their names are written in their fullest forms for the most official occasions. Retiring Deans of the Royal Peculiars of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey are customarily inducted as Knights Commander. Prior to 1984, the grades of Lieutenant and Member were classified as Members and Members but both with the post-nominals MVO. On 31 December of that year, Queen Elizabeth II declared that those in the grade of Member would henceforth be Lieutenants with the post-nominals LVO; the current officers of the Royal Victorian Order are as follows: Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II, since 1952 Grand Master: Anne, Princess Royal, since 2007 Chancellor: William Peel, 3rd Earl Peel, as Lord Chamberlain, since 2006 Secretary: Sir Alan Reid, as Keeper of the Privy Purse, since 2002 Registrar: Lieutenant Colonel Michael Vernon, as Secretary of the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood Chaplain: Peter Galloway, as Chaplain of the Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, since 2008 Upon admission into the Royal Victorian Order, members are given various insignia of the organisation, each grade being represented by different emblems and robes.
Common for all members is the badge, a Maltese cross with a central medallion depicting on a red background the Royal Cypher of Queen Victoria surrounded by a blue ring bearing the motto of the order—VICTORIA—and surmounted by a Tudor crown. However, there are variations on the badge for each grade of the order: Knights and Dames Grand Cross wear the badge on a sash passing from the right shoulder to the left hip.
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti