Princess Alice of Battenberg
Princess Alice of Battenberg was the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, mother-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II. A great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, she grew up in the United Kingdom, the German Empire, the Mediterranean, she was congenitally deaf. After marrying Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark in 1903, she adopted the style of her husband, becoming Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark, she lived in Greece until the exile of most of the Greek royal family in 1917. On returning to Greece a few years her husband was blamed in part for the country's defeat in the Greco-Turkish War, the family was once again forced into exile until the restoration of the Greek monarchy in 1935. In 1930, she was committed to a sanatorium in Switzerland. After her recovery, she devoted most of her remaining years to charity work in Greece, she stayed in Athens during the Second World War, sheltering Jewish refugees, for which she is recognised as "Righteous Among the Nations" by Israel's Holocaust memorial institution, Yad Vashem.
After the war, she stayed in Greece and founded an Orthodox nursing order of nuns known as the Christian Sisterhood of Martha and Mary. After the fall of King Constantine II of Greece and the imposition of military rule in Greece in 1967, she was invited by her son and daughter-in-law to live at Buckingham Palace in London, where she died two years later, her remains were transferred from a vault in her birthplace, Windsor Castle, to a Russian Orthodox convent on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem in 1988. Alice was born in the Tapestry Room at Windsor Castle in Berkshire in the presence of her great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, she was the eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. Her mother was the eldest daughter of Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, the Queen's second daughter, her father was the eldest son of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine through his morganatic marriage to Countess Julia Hauke, created Princess of Battenberg in 1858 by Louis III, Grand Duke of Hesse.
Her three younger siblings, Louise and Louis became Queen of Sweden, Marquess of Milford Haven, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, respectively. She was christened Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie in Darmstadt on 25 April 1885, she had six godparents: her three surviving grandparents, Grand Duke Louis IV of Hesse, Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine, Julia, Princess of Battenberg. Alice spent her childhood between Darmstadt, London and Malta, her mother noticed that she was slow in learning to talk, became concerned by her indistinct pronunciation. She was diagnosed with congenital deafness after her grandmother, Princess Battenberg, identified the problem and took her to see an ear specialist. With encouragement from her mother, Alice speak in English and German. Educated she studied French, after her engagement, she learned Greek, her early years were spent in the company of her royal relatives, she was a bridesmaid at the marriage of the Duke of York and Mary of Teck in 1893. A few weeks before her sixteenth birthday she attended the funeral of Queen Victoria in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, shortly afterward she was confirmed in the Anglican faith.
Princess Alice met Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, the fourth son of King George I of Greece and Olga Constantinovna of Russia, while in London for King Edward VII's coronation in 1902. They married in a civil ceremony on 6 October 1903 at Darmstadt; the following day, there were two religious marriage ceremonies. She adopted the style of her husband, becoming "Princess Andrew"; the bride and groom were related to the ruling houses of the United Kingdom, Russia and Greece, their wedding was one of the great gatherings of the descendants of Queen Victoria and Christian IX of Denmark held before World War I. Prince and Princess Andrew had five children, all of whom had children of their own. After their wedding, Prince Andrew continued his career in the military and Princess Andrew became involved in charity work. In 1908, she visited Russia for the wedding of Grand Duchess Marie of Russia and Prince William of Sweden. While there, she talked with her aunt, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna, formulating plans for the foundation of a religious order of nurses.
Princess Andrew attended the laying of the foundation stone for her aunt's new church. In the year, the Grand Duchess began giving away all her possessions in preparation for a more spiritual life. On their return to Greece and Princess Andrew found the political situation worsening, as the Athens government had refused to support the Cretan parliament, which had called for the union of Crete with the Greek mainland. A group of dissatisfied officers formed a Greek nationalist Military League that led to Prince Andrew's resignation from the army and the rise to power of Eleftherios Venizelos. With the advent of the Balkan Wars, Prince Andrew was reinstated in the army and Princess Andrew acted as a nurse, assisting at operations and setting up field hospitals, work for which King George V awarded her the Royal Re
Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark
Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark was the wife of Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus of Hesse and third-eldest sister to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Cecilie was the third child and daughter of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, she was born on 22 June 1911 at the summer estate of the Greek Royal Family at Tatoi, fifteen kilometres north of Athens. Although her given name was Cecilie, she was known to her family as Cécile. Cecilie was baptised at Tatoi on 2 July 1911, her godparents were King George V of the United Kingdom, Grand Duke Ernst Louis of Hesse, Prince Nicholas of Greece and Duchess Vera of Württemberg. Through her father Cecilie was a grandchild of King George I of Greece and his wife Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna of Russia. Through her mother she was a great-great granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Cecilie had three sisters: Margarita and Sophie, her brother Philip Duke of Edinburgh, is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1922 Cecilie and her sisters were bridesmaids at the wedding of their maternal uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten to Edwina Ashley.
On 2 February 1931 at Darmstadt, Cecilie married Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, her maternal first cousin once removed. They had four children: On 1 May 1937 Cecilie and her husband both joined the Nazi Party. In October 1937, Cecilie's father-in-law Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse died. A few weeks after the funeral, her brother-in-law Prince Ludwig was due to be married to the Hon. Margaret Campbell-Geddes in London. On 16 November 1937, Georg Donatus, their two young sons and Georg's mother Grand Duchess Eleonore left Darmstadt for London, where they planned to attend the wedding; the aircraft in which they were travelling crashed in flames after hitting a factory chimney near Ostend, killing all on board. Cecilie was eight months pregnant with her fourth child at the time of the crash, the remains of the baby were found in the wreckage. Cecilie was buried with her husband and three of her children in Darmstadt at the Rosenhöhe, the traditional burial place of the Hesse family.
Cecilie's daughter Johanna was adopted by Princess Margaret. However, Johanna died two years from meningitis and is buried with her parents and siblings. Cecilie was the first of Prince Princess Alice's children to die; the crash figures in the plot of A Matter of Honour by Jeffrey Archer, in which Grand Duke Georg has in his possession the jewels of his aunt, the last Tsaritsa of Russia, which the KGB are looking for. There is no evidence in reality, she is depicted in the Netflix series The Crown as Prince Philip's favourite sister. She appears in flashbacks in the ninth episode of the second season, portrayed by German actress Leonie Benesch. 22 June 1911 – 2 February 1931: Her Royal Highness Princess Cecilie of Greece and Denmark 2 February 1931 – 16 November 1937: Her Royal Highness The Hereditary Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine Greece: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Olga and Sophia, 1st Class House of Hesse: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Royal Order of the Golden Lion United Kingdom: Recipient of the King George VI Coronation Medal Sabena OO-AUB Ostend crash
Princess Charlotte of Denmark
Princess Louise Charlotte of Denmark was a Danish princess, a princess of Hesse-Kassel by marriage to Prince William of Hesse-Kassel. She played an important role in the succession crisis in Denmark in the first half of the 19th century, she was born in Christiansborg Palace to Frederick, Hereditary Prince of Denmark and Norway, Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. On 10 November 1810 in Amalienborg Palace she married Prince William of Hesse-Kassel, her spouse was in Danish service from his youth, the family lived in Denmark. Princess Charlotte was described as a wise and thrifty, kept the finances of her household under strict control, she had some interest in art and poetry, felt herself to be a Danish patriot. Charlotte played some part in the succession crisis which occurred because her cousin, King Frederick, lacked a male heir, she supported the solution that her branch of the family should succeed to the throne, because of this, she opposed the Schleswig-Holstein matter. In 1839, her brother Christian VIII of Denmark succeeded their cousin on the throne, during his reign, Charlotte had an important position at the Danish royal court in Copenhagen because her brother favored that her line of the family should succeed to the throne after his male line had died out.
In 1848, her brother was succeeded by his childless son, her nephew. In 1850, the Danish government was pressured by the Empire of Russia to discontinue its support of her line in the succession order in favor of the Duke of Oldenburg, her son-in-law. Christian of Oldenburg had displayed anti-Danish sentiment during the recent war, when gehejmeråd F. C. Dankwart, on behalf of the government, issued the demand that she should renounce her and her son's right to the throne in favor of her son-in-law, she replied: "It is impossible: the Danish people would under no circumstance accept as King a Prince from a house that has made war against Denmark, and, so hostile toward us". In exchange, she demanded that the House of Oldenburg purchase the Duchy of Hesse and declare it a kingdom, so that her son Frederick could "Switch one Kingdom for another". After having been persuaded that her terms were impossible and that Christian of Oldenburg in fact had good support for his claim, she agreed to renounce her and her son's claims to the throne.
On 18 July 1851, she and her son Frederick renounced their claims to the Danish throne in favour of her daughter Louise, who in turn renounced it in favour of her spouse. Louise Charlotte is the matrilineal great-grandmother of Nicholas II of Russia, William IV, Grand Duke of Luxembourg and George V, she died in Christiansborg Palace. Karoline Friederike Marie of Hesse-Kassel Princess Marie Luise Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel Married Prince Frederick Augustus of Anhalt-Dessau. Louise of Hesse-Kassel. Married Christian IX of Denmark Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Adolf, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. Married, Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna of Russia, a daughter of Nicholas I of Russia and Charlotte of Prussia, she died soon after their marriage. He married, Princess Anna of Prussia Auguste Sophie Friederike of Hesse-Kassel (30 October 1823 – 17 July 1899. Married Baron Charles Frederick von Blixen-Finecke. Sophie Wilhelmine of Hesse-Kassel
Old Royal Palace
The Old Royal Palace is the first royal palace of modern Greece, completed in 1843. It has housed the Hellenic Parliament since 1934; the Old Palace is situated at the heart of modern Athens, facing onto Syntagma Square. The palace was designed by Bavarian architect Friedrich von Gärtner for King Otto of Greece and his wife, Queen Amalia, with funds donated by Otto's father, King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Previous proposals had placed the new palace at the sites of Omonoia Square, Kerameikos and on top the Acropolis of Athens. Construction work started in 1836 and was completed in 1843; as it served as a palace for the Greek monarchs for about a century, it is sometimes still referred to as the "Old Palace". After suffering fire damage in 1909, it entered a long period of renovation. During renovations the King and his family moved to the Crown Prince's Palace, from on known as the "New Palace", one block to the east on Herodou Attikou Street; some of the royal family, chiefly the dowager Queen Olga, continued to reside in the "Old Palace" until 1922.
In 1924, a referendum abolished the monarchy. The building was used for many different purposes—housing a variety of government and public services in the 1920s, functioning as a makeshift hospital during World War II, a refugee shelter for Greek refugees from Asia Minor in 1922, a museum with the personal effects of King George I, other uses. In November 1929 the government decided. After more extensive renovations, the Senate convened in the "Old Palace" on 2 August 1934, followed by the Fifth National Assembly on 1 July 1935. Although the monarchy was restored that same year, the building has housed Parliament since. Kardamitsi-Adami, Maro. Palaces in Greece. Melissa Books. ISBN 978-960-204-289-2. Official website of the Hellenic Parliament History of the Hellenic Parliament Building
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476; the title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar I, in 924. The title was revived again in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries.
Some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, describing a gradual assumption of the imperial title and role; the exact term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii, the notion that he—the sovereign ruler—held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome, was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although controlled by dynasties; the German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans", he would be crowned emperor by the Pope. The empire never achieved the extent of political unification as was formed to the west in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, duchies, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, other domains.
The power of the emperor was limited, while the various princes, lords and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806 following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by emperor Napoleon I the month before. In various languages the Holy Roman Empire was known as: Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero, Czech: Svatá říše římská, Polish: Święte imperium rzymskie, Slovene: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo, Dutch: Heilige Roomse Rijk, French: Saint-Empire romain. Before 1157, the realm was referred to as the Roman Empire; the term sacrum in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa: the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy. The form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a form first used in a document in 1474. The new title was adopted because the Empire had lost most of its Italian and Burgundian territories to the south and west by the late 15th century, but to emphasize the new importance of the German Imperial Estates in ruling the Empire due to the Imperial Reform. By the end of the 18th century, the term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" had fallen out of official use. Besides, contradicting the traditional view concerning that designation, Hermann Weisert has stated in a study on imperial titulature that, despite the claim of many textbooks, the name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" never had an official status and points out that documents were thirty times as to omit the national suffix as include it. This, or the shortened "Roman Empire of the German Nation", is used in Germany to refer to the Holy Roman Empire. In a famous assessment of the name, the political philosopher Voltaire remarked sardonically: "This body, called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control. In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, the Merovingians, under Clovis I and his successors, consolidated Frankish tribes and extended hegemony over others to gain control of northern Gaul and the middle Rhine river valley region. By the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel's son Pepin became King of the Franks, gained the sanction of the Pope; the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768, Pepin's son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an extensive expansion of the realm, he incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, beyond, linking the Frankish kingdom with Papal lands. In 797, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VI was removed from the throne by his mother Irene who declared herself Empress; as the Church regarded a male Roman Emperor as the head of Christendom, Pope
Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, VA, CI, was the fourth child and third daughter of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. She was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom as well as of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Princess Alexandra was born on 1 September 1878 at Coburg, her father was the Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Her mother was Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia, a daughter of Alexander II of Russia and Marie of Hesse and by Rhine, she was baptised on 2 October 1878 at Edinburgh Palace, Coburg by her mother's chaplain. Her godparents included her maternal uncle Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia. Nicknamed'Sandra' by her family, Alexandra spent her childhood first in England and between 1886 and 1889 in Malta, where her father was serving with the Royal Navy. In 1889 the family moved to Coburg, Germany since her father, was the heir apparent to the duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
In 1893, her great-uncle, The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha died without issue. Since Albert was dead, her uncle, The Prince of Wales had renounced his claim to the ducal throne of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the vacant duchy fell to Alexandra's father, the Duke of Edinburgh. Thus, Princess Alexandra was both a Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, she was a bridesmaid at the 1885 wedding of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter The Princess Beatrice to Prince Henry of Battenberg. She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York on 6 July 1893. Throughout her life, Alexandra was overshadowed by her two eldest sisters and Victoria. Alexandra, less beautiful and more subdued than her sisters, was plain and not as brilliant. During Alexandra's formative years, her father, occupied with his career in the Navy and as a ruler in Coburg, paid little attention to his family, it was Alexandra's mother, the domineering presence in their children's life. The duchess believed in marrying her daughters young.
At the end of 1895, she arranged Alexandra's engagement to Ernst II, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. Alexandra's grandmother, Queen Victoria, complained. Alexandra's father objected to the status of his future son-in-law; the House of Hohenlohe-Lagenburg was mediatized - a ruling family who had ceded their sovereign rights to others while retaining their equal birth. It was not considered a brilliant match, but they were related. Ernst was a grandson of Princess Feodora of Queen Victoria's half-sister; the wedding took place on 20 April 1896 in Germany. Together, they had five children: 8th Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. Princess Marie Melita of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. Princess Alexandra of Hohenlohe-Langenburg Princess Irma of Hohenlohe-Langenburg Prince Alfred of Hohenlohe-Langenburg Alexandra lived for the rest of her life in Germany. At the death of her father in 1900, Alexandra's husband was appointed regent of the duchy of Saxe-Coburg during the minority of the new Duke, her first cousin. Alexandra's only brother, had died in 1899.
During World War I, she worked as a Red Cross nurse. In February 1916 her eldest daughter was married at Coburg to Prince Friederich of Gluckburg and she became a grandmother when the couple's first child, Prince Hans of Glucksburg was born in May 1917. On her thirty-fifth wedding anniversary in April 1931, her son Gottfried married Princess Margarita of Greece and Denmark. In the years preceding World War II, Alexandra was an early supporter of the Nazi Party, which she joined on 1 May 1937, together with several of her children, she died in Schwäbisch Hall, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany in 1942. Her elder son, Gottfried, 8th Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, was named in an unsavory manner as part of the custody suit over Gloria Vanderbilt between her mother, Gloria Laura Mercedes Morgan, the child's aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. 1 September 1878 – 23 August 1893: Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh, Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Duchess of Saxony. 23 August 1893 – 20 April 1896: Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha 20 April 1896 – 9 March 1913: Her Royal Highness The Hereditary Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg 9 March 1913 – 16 April 1942: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg Alexandra's personal coat of arms was that of the British monarch, with an inescutcheon of the shield of Saxony, all differenced, as a male-line grandchild, with a label argent of five points, the central point bearing a cross gules, the inner pair anchors azure, the outer pair fleurs-de-lys azure.
In 1917, the inescutcheon was dropped by royal warrant from George V. Petropoulos, Jonathan and the Reich, Oxford University Press, New York, 2006, ISBN 0-19-516133-5 Zeepvat, Charlotte, "The other one: Alexandra of Hohenlohe- langeburg", in Royalty History Digest
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K