Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
©AFP / Getty Images

I didn’t want to write about this.

I wanted to write a bit more about our splendid trip to Austria.

Then Article 50 came up, and I simply couldn’t let it go without writing a few things about it.

On the 29th March, 2017, Britain said goodbye to the European Union (EU).

It was not a happy day.

For months, I’ve been involved in debating, talking, TV, radio and newspaper interviews on why my home-country is leaving the EU. In fact, just a week before Article 50, I received an offer to go on German TV to discuss my hopes and fears for Brexit!

See for yourself: Bye-bye Love: Reactions to Brexit and auf Deutsche – Bye-bye Love: Reaktionen zum Brexit.

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
@ JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s not looking pretty.

All over Europe, British expats are rushing to start the process of double-nationality, or permanent residency.

In the UK, European expats are doing the same.

Luckily for me, I’ve been living in Germany for yonks, I’m married, I’m settled, I have a corporate job, and I speak German. And quite frankly, in these uncertain times, it doesn’t hurt to have double nationality….!

However, just to re-assure you, the British Ambassador for Germany – Ambassador Sir Sebastian Wood – on the status of UK citizens in Germany,  categorically said that “there has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU.” You can see his video speech here.

Brexit. Please don't go! ©Der Spiegel - Getty Images.
Brexit. Please don’t go! ©Der Spiegel – Getty Images.

After sixty (60) years of friendship, Brexit is the worse disaster that has happened to the EU since the beginning of World War 2!

Last June, my fellow British compatriots voted in a referendum on whether the UK should leave or stay in the EU.

The people voted to leave.

You know my opinion about this, but here’s a reminder:

Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union.
Now what?
We're not leaving!
We’re not leaving!

It was quite upsetting and begins two years of wrangling, arguing, disputation, and down-right nastiness.

Brexit was triggered by a process known as Article 50.

WHAT IS ARTICLE 50 ALL ABOUT?

Theresa May’s Brexit letter in Brussels.
©Yves Herman / Reuters

Well, Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon gives any EU member the right to quit unilaterally, and outlines the procedure for doing so.

It gives the leaving country two years to negotiate an exit deal and once it’s set in motion, it can’t be stopped except by the unanimous consent of all member states.

Once in the EU, there has never be a way, or a need, to legally leave the EU before the Treaty of Lisbon was signed in 2007.

WHEN DID THE UK JOIN THE EU?
The UK joined the European Economic Community (the forerunner of the EU), on January 1st, 1973.

WHAT IS THE EUROPEAN UNION?

The European Union – otherwise known as the EU – is an economic and political partnership involving now, twenty-seven (27) European countries!

The European Union – otherwise known as the EU – is an economic and political partnership involving twenty-eight (28) European countries!

The idea of fostering economic co-operation, began with the Second World War notion that countries that trade together, are more likely to avoid going to war with one another!

Since then, the EU has grown to become a “single market” allowing goods and people to move around, as if the member states were one country. The EU has its own currency – the euro – which is used by nineteen (19) of the member countries, its own parliament, and it’s own laws, rules and regulations. With a GDP of more than $18,000 billion, and a population of more than 500m, the EU is the largest economy in the world!

HAS ANY MEMBER STATE EVER LEFT THE EU?
No nation-state has ever left the EU before. Except for Greenland – an overseas territory of Denmark!

THE UK HAS LEFT THE EU. WOULD IT BE ABLE TO REJOIN IN THE FUTURE?

No nation-state has ever previously left the EU.
Except for Greenland – an overseas territory of Denmark!

Yes!

The UK would have to start from scratch with no rebate, and enter in to accession talks with the EU. And every member state would have to agree to the UK re-joining! However, the issue of UK demands which Britain had before, would no longer be put into consideration.

WHAT IS THE LISBON TREATY?

The Lisbon Treaty (which became law in December 2009) is designed to make the EU “more democratic, more transparent and more efficient” and is an agreement signed by the heads of state and governments of countries that are EU members.

WHEN WAS ARTICLE  50 TRIGGERED?

Article 50 &Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 shortly before 12:30pm on March 29 2017, giving Britain a final official date of leaving the EU of no later than April 2019!

WHAT ARE THE REAL DETAILS OF ARTICLE 50?

The real details of Article 50…!

There are five elements to Article 50:

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Article 50 means that for the next two (2) years, Britain must thrash out a deal for leaving the EU. It’s a process that’s likely to be lengthy, complicated, and painful for all, as any deal must be approved by a “qualified majority” of EU member states, and can be vetoed by the European Parliament.

WHAT IS BREXIT ALL ABOUT AGAIN?

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

Brexit is a shorthand way of referring to the British exit from the EU. It is a word that merges “Britain” and “Exit” thus creating “Brexit” similar to the term “Grexit,” which was used to refer to the possibility that Greece might leave the Eurozone.

WHAT IS A REFERENDUM?
A referendum is a vote in which anyone of voting age can take part, normally giving a “Yes” or “No” answer to a question. Whichever side gets more than half of all votes cast, is considered to have won.

Yes (leave), won!

WHY DID WE HAVE A BREXIT REFERENDUM IN THE FIRST PLACE?

I might not have liked the outcome, but a Brexit Referedum was promised!
©Reuters / David Moir

David Cameron – the then British Prime Minister – promised to make this happen if he won the 2015 general election.

He won!

This act was in a response to the “European question in British politics,” reduced influence in European rules and regulations, and agitated calls from members of his own political party – the Conservatives – and the UK Independence Party (UKIP), who argued that Britain had not had a real say about issues since 1975, when it voted to stay in the EU, in a referendum at the time!

HOW LONG WILL BREXIT TAKE?

The official process of Brexit is supposed to take two years, but experts believe that it could take longer. The timescale can be extended, but only by the unanimous consent of the European Council, which technically means that every member state would have to agree.

The terms of exit will be negotiated between Britain’s 27 other counterparts, and each will have a veto over the conditions. Triggering Article 50 starts the clock. After this, the Treaties that govern membership no longer apply to Britain.

IS BREXIT REALLY GOING TO BE AN ISSUE FOR THE UNITED KINGDOM?

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
©Jonathan McHugh

On paper, not at all.

In reality, it’s all very complicated.

The agreement of a new trade relationship, economic tariffs, and the issue of free movement is going to be a sore topic, and could take a process of up to five (5) years!

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ANYWAY?

The EU is like a family and like all families, you have disagreements, and quarrels.

Well the thing is, the EU is like a family and like all families, you have disagreements, and quarrels. What you don’t do is threaten to leave the family unit, and hope to live happily ever after. Or worse, have all your demands fulfilled.

The fact is, other family members, although they love each other, believe in tough love, and don’t want to encourage tantrums, otherwise, everyone else will be threatening to leave too!

In short, European leaders want the agreements and conditions to be effective and brutal, so that other member states are discouraged from following suit…!

WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP FOR THE UK?

The Govt & many of the British working classes want Hard Brexit, but hopefully, common sense will allow a softer Brexit instead!
©NurPhoto via Getty Images

Theresa May (the British Prime Minsiter) plans to transpose EU laws onto British statutes allowing the Government to analyse and reject whatever laws it sees fit.

To do this, the UK government would have to perform three acts simultaneously:

  • Negotiate a new deal with Brussels
  • Win a series of major bilateral trade deals around the world
  • Revise its own governance as EU law recedes

The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union – David Davis – will be supervising the process.

ANY POSSIBLE FUTURE PROBLEMS AS A RESULT OF BREXIT?

The potential for the United Kingdom itself to Break Up is more possible than you can ever imagine, as Northern Ireland might decide to Re-Unite with the Republic!

Sadly, yes.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE EU ITSELF?

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
©Claudio Cadei – CartoonMovement

The focus is on driving a hard bargain on the rights of European citizens in Britain, and likewise, British citizens in Europe, making negotiations with the UK that we can all live with whilst at the same time, keeping the EU together, making demands that still open markets for trade on friendly terms, and unity on security and military co-operation to fight terrorism and crime, whether the nation-state is part of the EU or not.

WHY I THINK BRITAIN SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN THE EU?

The outcome of Brexit was crazy!
@Visit England – Rich J Jones

Britain is important. What we do or don’t do, matters.

Moreover, being a part of the EU gives Britain a boost in almost every way. We’re able to do business in the “single market,” we would be able to attract the best minds all over the world, who complement our economic prosperity, as well as our social future in the guise of helping to pay and provide for public services. To stay in the EU is to receive a big boost in reciprocal membership.

It’s simple really.

If we’re in the European Union, we have a say on what goes on within – economically, socially, and politically. We’ll be a secure part of one of the best clubs in the world – a 28-nation club – exclusively set up to protect and look out for each other.

At a time of extreme danger to our way of life, and an increase in terrorism, we  need the EU.

Now that we’ve opt to leave the Union, as an island nation. We’re out. Alone.

And really isolated from the rest of the Continent.

Now that Brexit & Article 50 has been triggered, as an island nation. We’re out. Alone.

Is anyone going to win?

Not really.

ARTICLE 50 & BREXIT IN THE UK. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW!

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
©Kate Green/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

This article isn’t sponsored and all opinions connected to Brexit & Article 50, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll be writing my last article about Austria!

In April & May, I’ll be visiting Croatia, Sweden & Finland!

From 07.03.17 – 09.03.17, our friends – the British musical and comedy duo – Carrington Brown – will be performing Germany’s premiere of Carrington-Brown feat. The Swonderful Orchestra: Comedy meets Classics at Tipi!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in April. Well then?

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

What do you think of Brexit & Article 50? Do you fear it,or do you agree with it? Share & let me know below! 

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union. Now what?

Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union. Now what?
Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union.
Now what?

I feel I should ‪‎rant‬.

The Brexit vote stunned us all.

Even though the outcome was expected to be close, the final opinion polls had pointed to a narrow victory for Remain in Europe, and was given a mighty blow when the real outcome stuck at Leave!

Britain’s decision to leave the EU is the biggest assault on the unity of Europe since World War Two!

I’m not ‪‎shocked‬ anymore just ‪‎angry,‬ and bitterly‬ surprised‬, at how close we came to establishing ‪‎common sense‬ with Vote Remain, on the ‬UK’s EU referendum!

‪As a result of the appalling outcome, the British Prime Minister – ‎David Cameron‬ ‪- had no choice but to ‎resign. 

And so he should!

David Cameron on Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union. Now what?
David Cameron on Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union.
Now what?

I don’t usually write about politics on my blog, but what an ‪‎idiot!

David Cameron will be remembered as the man who orchestrated the ‪‎split‬ of 369 years of the Scottish joint establishment with the ‪‎United Kingdom‬, and probably go down in ‪‎history as the person ‬who began the wave of the breakdown, and fracture, of a 43 year international relationship with our neighbours – members of the ‪‎European Union!

To get my reaction, I was pretty much everywhere last week, making one statement after another, in this or that form of media.

But the one that I liked the most was the lovely TV news piece that I did with a German TV station called Deutsche Welle (DW), which is one of the world’s biggest international broadcasters, providing a broad picture of political and cultural life in Europe. A bit like the BBC, but mainly about Germany!

I was contacted by the Culture Department who wanted to do a piece for their TV magazine – Euromaxx. They wanted to talk to well-known British people who live in Berlin and to record our response to the awful outcome of the referendum.

I was looking forward to talking about how happy I would be. On June 23rd, I was sending social media messages on all my social media feeds, right, left, and center, pretty much all day.

And then.

It wasn’t a happy outcome!

But you know, I'm a professional, as is Jeremy Corbyn! @Toby Melville / Reuters
But you know, I’m a professional, as is Jeremy Corbyn!
@Toby Melville / Reuters

But you know, I’m a professional and so with my shoulders back and my head held high, I put on a pretty dress and went for my TV interview.

See for yourself: Bye-bye Love: Reactions to Brexit and auf Deutsche – Bye-bye Love: Reaktionen zum Brexit.

I think I did a good job!

This referendum was a complete and utter mess, and revealed the multiple cracks in a disunited kingdom – London and cosmopolitan, intellectual, middle class, younger Britain, on one side, and rural, provincial, working class, old-age pensioner England on the other.

Myself at the Berlin Music Video Awards with Roc Roc It. 2015 © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Myself at the Berlin Music Video Awards with Roc Roc It.
2015
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

I’m so glad that I live in Germany right now!

On the assumption that the people have spoken, and democracy has taken effect, Britain will have to live with the political, constitutional, diplomatic, and economic consequences, and that starts with the shockwaves effect of other European nations calling for the same thing, and thus, creating a domino effect.

WHAT HAPPENED?
A referendum was held on Thursday June 23rd, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain, in the European Union.

Leave won by 52% to 48%.

HOW DID PEOPLE VOTE?
Both England and Wales voted strongly for Brexit, whilst Scotland and Northern Ireland both backed staying in the EU. I’m proud to say that both Manchester and London voted for Remain.

BRITAIN IS OUT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union. Now what?
Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union.
Now what?

On paper. Nothing!

There’s no need for anyone to panic just yet!

It all depends on negotiations with the other EU member states. As I told you last week, no nation-state has ever left the EU except for Greenland – an overseas territory of Denmark!

However, the first goal is to calm everyone down!

The financial market is all in a frenzy, Europeans are wearing shrouds and the Americans are having a bit of a laugh at our expense!

For the UK to leave the EU it has to invoke an agreement called Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Once this is invoked, the formal legal process of EU separation will begin. Britain will have two (2) years to negotiate its withdrawal.

This article was only written up in late 2009 and hasn’t been tested, so no-one really knows how the Brexit process will work.

EU law still stands in the UK until it ceases being a member – and that process could take some time. Until then, the UK will continue to abide by EU treaties and laws, but not take part in any decision-making, as it negotiates a withdrawal agreement, and the terms of its relationship with the now 27 nation bloc!

I'm British! Now what?
I’m British! Now what?

WHAT ABOUT UK CITIZENS WORKING IN THE EU?
It depends.

If the UK remains within the single market, it would almost certainly retain free movement rights, allowing UK citizens to work in the EU and vice versa. However, if the UK opted to impose work permit restrictions, then other countries could reciprocate, meaning Brits would probably have to apply for visas in order to work.

Working in the EU could become more difficult for UK expats, if host countries ask them to comply with more restrictive rules when it comes to permits, and setting up businesses. They may lose their automatic right to work within the EU area, and be asked to apply for Blue Cards.

It’s very unlikely that people already living and working abroad will be sent back to the UK, but it could become substantially more difficult for new expats to find work on the Continent, due to employment laws in 15 member nations, which states that non-EU citizens can only be hired, if no other suitable candidate has been found within the EU area.

She's an EU citizen. Just look at her gorgeous clothes!
She’s an EU citizen.
Just look at her gorgeous clothes!

WHAT ABOUT EU CITIZENS WORKING IN THE UK?
Again, it depends.

If the UK decides to introduce a work permit system (as it applies to non-EU citizens), then entry will be limited to skilled workers, in professions where there are shortages.

WILL A VISA BE NEEDED WHEN TRAVELLING OR ON VACATION?
Highly unlikely as the tourist pound will always be welcome.

British citizens can already visit many non-EU countries for up to 90 days without needing a visa, so it’s possible that such arrangements could be negotiated with European countries.

A British passport will still be valid as a document. @Reuters
A British passport will still be valid as a document.
@Reuters

WILL A BRITISH PASSPORT STILL BE VALID AS A DOCUMENT?
Yes!

It is a British document – there is no such thing as an EU passport, so it will stay the same although in theory, the government could, decide to change the colour, which is currently standardised – red – for EU nations.

WHAT’S THIS SINGLE MARKET MALARKEY?
The European Union single market developed in 1992, allows the free movement of goods, services, money, and people, within the European Union, as if it were a single country.

The idea was to boost trade, create jobs, and lower prices. However, it requires a common law to ensure products are made to the same technical standards and level of quality and expectation. Critics say it generates too many petty regulations, and robs members of control over their own nations. Other critics state mass migration (free movement) as having been abused by poorer East European countries who flock to wealthier West European nations.

No nation state has ever left the EU. Except for Greenland - an overseas territory of Denmark!
No nation state has ever left the EU.
Except for Greenland – an overseas territory of Denmark!

HAS ANY MEMBER STATE EVER LEFT THE EU?
No nation-state has ever left the EU. Except for Greenland – an overseas territory of Denmark!

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR SCOTLAND?
Scotland’s First Minister – Nicola Sturgeon – is very unhappy, and said that it is “democratically unacceptable” that Scotland faces being taken out of the EU, when it voted to Remain, and that a second independence referendum for Scotland is “highly likely!”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR NORTHERN IRELAND?
Deputy First Minister – Martin McGuinness – said the impact in Northern Ireland would be “very profound,” and that the complete island of Ireland, should now be able to vote on reunification with the Irish Republic!

The next Prime Minister is likely to be Boris Johnson. Illustration @Martin Rowson
The next Prime Minister is likely to be Boris Johnson.
Illustration @Martin Rowson

BRITISH POLITICS – WHICH WAY FORWARD? 
The next Prime Minister is likely to be Boris Johnson.

What lies ahead is a complicated renegotiation of our relationship with our closest neighbours and most important markets. The talks with EU leaders will require seriousness, finesse, diplomacy and a capacity for building trusting relationships. It will also require flexibility.

On the other hand, we could become like Norway!

The UK could follow the Norwegian initiative. Close to the EU but alone in the cold!
The UK could follow the Norwegian initiative.
Close to the EU but alone in the cold!

WHAT IS THE NORWAY OPTION?
Experts believe that the UK could follow the Norwegian initiative which is not to be a member state of the European Union (EU), but to have a close association through membership in the European Economic Area (EEA).

EEA membership gives Norway full access to the EU’s internal market, allowing it to trade goods with EU states without customs fees, except food and drink, which is subsidised by the EU. Iceland and Liechtenstein are also members of the EEA.

In return for that access, Norway is obliged to implement all the EU’s laws relating to the internal market implementing about three-quarters of all EU legislation, including the working time directive.

Britain could choose to be like Switzerland, which is not a member state of the European Union!
Britain could choose to be like Switzerland, which is not a member state of the European Union!

ANY OTHER OPTION?
We could of course, go all the way, cut our losses, and opt out of any EU association completely, trading as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) which deals with the global rules of trade between nations. However, experts agree that this is definitely not the way forward, and would only lead to an economic crisis.

Perhaps more!

On the other hand, Britain could choose to be like Switzerland, which is not a member state of the European Union either but has a slightly more “hands off” relationship with the EU! In this case, relations between Switzerland and the European Union are framed by a series of bilateral treaties that allow Switzerland to participate in trading agreements.

In short, having our cake and eating it!

Brexit won't be the birth of "New Britain," but the break up of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales!
Brexit won’t be the birth of “New Britain,” but the break up of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales!

THE BIRTH OF “NEW BRITAIN”?
I doubt it!

The United Kingdom itself could break apart and begin the disintegration of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales – all countries who formed that most beautiful nation – otherwise known as the United Kingdom!

The leaders of Leave might have won the Referendum, but they have not won the battle, instead they have opened Pandora’s Box, and by doing so, unleashed profound economic instability, crushed relations with our closest allies, toppled a prime minister, and jeopardized the unity of the United Kingdom!

OMG!

BREXIT: SO BRITAIN IS OUT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. NOW WHAT?

Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union. Now what?
Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union.
Now what?

Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union. Now what?

Quite frankly, in the political mess that we find ourselves, nobody is a winner!

So Britain has left the EU. And most of us didn’t want to.

So what!

We can leave the EU, but we can’t quit Europe.

Because Europe is our continent.

We’re stoic.

We’ve got a stiff upper lip.

We won’t let those leaders determine our future with Europe.

We’ll somehow make it through.

Haven’t we always!

Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union. Now what? We'll somehow make it through. @Melissa Barreiro
Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union.
Now what? We’ll somehow make it through.
@Melissa Barreiro

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions connected to this most important referendum, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll be writing about my love for Europe!

I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week from June 28th – July 1st.

Strictly Stand Up – English Comedy Night – will take place on June 29th, at the Quatsch Comedy Club in Berlin!

The Berlin Chapter of Travel Massive and Terminal 3, will be hosting True Stories. Told Live. Digital Nomad Style as part of the Tech Open Air Festival on July 14th, at Spielfeld Digital Hub.

I’ll also be attending an Exclusive Food Tour with Fork & Walk on Wednesday, August 10th.

Save the Date!

July is going to be sunny!

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & Facebook!

If you’re not in Berlin in July, you’re missing all the fun!

Watch this space!

Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union. Now what?
Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union.
Now what?

Were you surprised by the fact that Britain voted to leave the European Union? Do you think the UK is right to leave the EU or wrong to leave the EU? Have your say?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

To be or not to be? That isn’t a question, that’s the Queen’s dinner & a Night Out with William Shakespeare!

A Crown fit for a Queen, or any of the other Kings!
A Crown fit for a Queen, or any of the other Kings!

Last week was so exciting and was very, very British!

Why, you might ask?

Well, it was the Queen’s birthday as well as being the birth and death of William Shakespeare!

I know!!

Anyhoo!

I was invited to participate in a gala show and performance celebrating Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY YOUR MAJESTY!

Royal Mail Stamps with the Queen's head!
Royal Mail Stamps with the Queen’s head!

The Queen was 90!

Wow!

I’ve always found her to be absolutely marvellous and looking equally amazing at 90, as she did at 19!

I remember the letter that she commanded her Lady-in-Waiting to send me, in which I nattered away about my family holiday at the most delicate age of 9, and I never forgot the reply!

I was so proud!

WHEN IS THE QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY?

The Queen is 90!
The Queen is 90!

The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday on 21 April, and her official birthday on (usually), the second Saturday in June!

The Queen usually spends her actual birthday privately, but the occasion is marked publicly by gun salutes in central London at midday, a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park, and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London!

On her official birthday, Her Majesty is joined by other members of the Royal Family at the spectacular Trooping the Colour Parade, which moves between Buckingham Palace, The Mall, and Horseguards’ Parade, as well as a public appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

And in case you didn’t know, and of course, you did!

Queen Elizabeth has reigned longer than my namesake – Queen Victoria!
Queen Elizabeth has reigned longer than my namesake – Queen Victoria!

Queen Elizabeth II has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history becoming a much-loved, and respected figure, across the globe.

Her extraordinary reign has seen her travel more widely than any other monarch, and undertake many historic overseas visits. Not only is she known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, but she also carries out all of her duties against the backdrop of a full personal life, which has seen her raise four children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren, to the Royal Family.

Her Majesty has been, and continues to be, an important figurehead for the UK, the Commonwealth, and indeed, the world! At a time of enormous discord and strive, she remains unswayed, and ever solid and constant.

Her birthday celebration was a great day and made me feel proud to be British, and a part of the pomp and pageantry.

Long Live the Queen!

A DINNER FOR THE QUEEN!

The Queen's favorite dishes!
The Queen’s favorite dishes!

I was invited to honour the Queen and enjoy an exquisite gala evening at the Wintergarten Varieté theatre in Berlin.

The Wintergarten Varieté Berlin is a venue that was considered one of the stage entertainment places to be, between 1887 and 1943.

Today, the Wintergarten Varieté Berlin is a large variety theatre and located in a different part of Berlin known as Schöneberg which is a stylish, leafy suburb with boulevards and open-air markets, just great for lovely Saturday morning walks at a local farmers’ market by day and Berlin’s popular centre of gay life and community, by night!

Going bonkers at Sheer Madness or Der Helle Wahnsinn in Berlin! @ R.Pater
Going bonkers at Sheer Madness or Der Helle Wahnsinn in Berlin!
@ R.Pater

I’ve written about shows at the Wintergarten Varieté theatre in the past. Here they are below:

On this occasion, it was a black tie affair with a distinct British flair so I invited another member of the British community to accompany me – The Tall Young Gentleman – otherwise known as my tween son!

We had a delightful evening hosted by one of my musical friends and fellow MancurianJack Woodhead – and the internationally acclaimed Australian artist – Sarah Bowden.

We were comfortably seated having arrived early and shown to our table, pretty much at the front of the stage, when the rest of the table (a group of 4) asked if we could swap seats as the rest of their party were on the other table!

Of course, we obliged.

A basket of warm bread and creamy-chived butter!
A basket of warm bread and creamy-chived butter!

We started with an apertif of prosecco (for me) and orange juice (for the tween), accompanied by a basket of warm bread and creamy-chived butter. And then a camera crew swooped in.

Imagine my annoyance when the TV reporter looked briefly around in some sort of confusion, and then quickly proceeded to interview the pleased but startled middle-aged man, who was seated in the chair that I had just left!

After about a minute, they switched off the camera light, took off the mics, and belted out the left hand stage door!

Me being thoughtful and looking as if I'm about to sing! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Me being thoughtful and looking as if I’m about to sing!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Hmmmrff! Have I become one of those people..”but don’t you know who I am?!!!”

I hope not. Eeeek!

Jack took us through an artistic-culinary programme bursting with artists and performers, not only from the United Kingdom, but other Commonwealth nations too!

And then we had our starter.

A bowl of cream of apple cider soup with fresh chopped chives and butter croutons. Yum!
A bowl of cream of apple cider soup with fresh chopped chives and butter croutons.
Yum!

We had a bowl of cream of apple cider soup with fresh chopped chives and butter croutons. Yum!

After that, we had the 40-strong (!) choir – The Embassy Singers – from the British Embassy in Berlin who did a marvellous job of entertaining us.

Next, were more friends of ours, the hilarious comedy duo Carrington-Brown, who came along with their cello – Joe!

Somewhere along those lines thereafter, we had our main course.

We were served roast beef à la Wellington. Delicious but chewy!
We were served roast beef à la Wellington.
Delicious but chewy!

We were served roast beef à la Wellington with Cumberland sauce, sautéed green asparagus and mashed potatoes.

Everything was wonderful except for the roast beef. It would have been nice if it had been rare. It was however, well-done, but a bit chewy for my taste.

Ah well, “The Tall Young Gentleman” was pleased, as he had the most important job of polishing it off, while I had his cumberland sauce!

After dinner, the sexy-gracious English aerial artist Emily Kinch gave us a lovely acrobatic performance.

Another of our personal friends also came on – Sanjay Shihora – a talented artist and famous TV comedian from India, as well as being the owner of a well-established comedy club called Kookaburra, which we all used to hang out in, back in the day, before everyone got famous lol!

And soon it was time for dessert.

Rhubarb crumble and custard.
Rhubarb crumble and custard.

We had maple syrup-walnut pudding and rhubarb crumble and custard.

I’m allergic to nuts so I had two servings of rhubarb crumble sprinkled with strawberries and cherry compote, while “The Tall Young Gentleman” had two servings of maple syrup-walnut pudding!

After that performance, we had an onslaught of British music from the British / German conductor Rainer Hersch who was just a bellyfull of laughs and very, very funny with his Quartet orchestra and his slap-stick humour! 

Not long after, the leader and singer of the Savoy Dance Orchestra from Berlin and former lead singer of the legendary Pasadena Roof Orchestra – Robin Merrill – breezed in, in full jacket and tails as he had rushed over from another performance on German TV!

A fine reminder of the Last Night of the Proms,
A fine reminder of the Last Night of the Proms,

There was more charming music and a hell of a lot more laughs and towards the end we rounded up with the The Embassy Singers once again, an enthralling black and white video and pictorial archive of selective insights, into the most significant stages, of the life-time of Queen Elizabeth II. As well as a fine reminder of the Last Night of the Proms with pieces such as “We’ll meet again,” and “Land of Hope and Glory.”

It was during the singing of “Rule Britannia” that a gulp came into my throat and a little tear of nostalgia and happiness, that the Queen had made it.

Long may she live!

I had a great time. Thanks very much Wintergarten Varieté!

AND NOW, FOR A TINY BIT OF SHAKESPEARE!

A potrait of William Shakespeare.
A potrait of William Shakespeare.

I love Shakespeare!

Everywhere you go and in my opinion, everywhere you look, there is something influenced by the books and writings of Shakespeare!

As you know, last week was not only the Queen’s birthday  but Shakespeare’s birthday too!

On April 23rd.

In fact, that day not only marked William Shakespeare’s birth, but also his death!

Shakespeare in Love!

2016 was the 400th anniversary of lifetime and all over the world was a live broadcasting showing of Shakespeare Live! From the RSC in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, hosted by David Tennant!

I have to confess that the marketing of Shakespeare in Berlin was so dismal and cruelly inadequate, such that I took up the marketing myself and started blasting my Twitter and Facebook feed, so that my friends and followers would know.

I mean, firstly, there were only two cinemas that were showing the broadcast.

In the whole city!

And secondly, when I went to buy my ticket on April 19th, just 4 days before the showing, only six (6) seats had been sold.

Six!

The house of Anne Hathaway - Shakespeare's wife!
The house of Anne Hathaway – Shakespeare’s wife!

I was amazed and utterly annoyed. So I swung into action and started telling everyone all about it!

Even with all the palaver, I still had a very awesome night.

David Tennant and Catherine Tate were marvellous and even Prince Charles joined in, and made a cameo appearance and was a very good sport!

Let’s just say “To be, or not to be, that is the QUESTION!” or “To be, OR not to be, that is the question!”

It was enormously funny, watch and see for yourself right here lol!

Me thinks there’s a PR job somewhere with my name on it. Hint! Hint!

TO BE OR NOT TO BE? THAT ISN’T A QUESTION. THAT’S A NIGHT OUT WITH WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE!

Shakespeare Lives and there's the living proof. Oh yeah. The skull!
Shakespeare Lives and there’s the living proof.
Oh yeah. The skull!

WHAT IS SHAKESPEARE LIVES AND SHAKESPEARE 400?

King Ed VI - William Shakespeare.
King Ed VI – William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare Lives and Shakespeare 400 is:

  • A life’s work.
  • A 400-year legacy.
  • A year of celebrations.

It’s also a worldwide celebration of the enduring global impact, relevance and creativity of William Shakespeare – the world’s best known Briton – and the UK’s most successful cultural export ever, on the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016. All over the world are activities and events in more than 140 countries, new creative commissions, partnerships with the UK’s most influential cultural institutions, and a global social media campaign to reach millions of people.

Phew!

FUN FACTS ABOUT SHAKESPEARE!

The hilarious chaps from "Horrible Histories!"
The hilarious chaps from “Horrible Histories!”
  • Shakespeare holds the Guinness World Record for being the most filmed author in the world!
  • The word ‘love’ appears 2,191 times in the complete works of Shakespeare!
  • His plays are set in 12 countries, with cities in present-day Italy being Shakespeare’s favourite.
  • Shakespeare lived in Stratford-upon-Avon, a handsome market town 20 miles south-east of Birmingham a little over two (2) hours from London. I’ve been there and it’s a lovely place with lots of huge swans that bite!
  • Shakespeare married an older woman – Anne Hathaway – who was three months pregnant at the time!
  • The only comedy set in the UK is The Merry Wives of Windsor.
  • Since 1960, there have been publications and productions of Hamlet in more than 75 languages!
  • Hamlet has even been translated into Klingon, Esperanto, and Interlingua!
  • Romeo and Juliet has been performed in 24 countries in the last ten years.
  • Very little is known about the life of William Shakespeare, but between about 1590 and 1613, he wrote at least 37 plays and 154 sonnets!
The gorgeous David Tennant as William Shakespeare's Richard II.
The gorgeous David Tennant as William Shakespeare’s Richard II.
  • William Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets have been adapted into 420 feature films and TV-movies!
  • Shakespeare wrote many plays and many poems. The most famous among his 10 tragedies are Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear.
  • Shakespeare’s best-known poems are The Sonnets, first published in 1609.
  • West Side Story (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins) was inspired by Romeo and Juliet.
  • Kiss Me, Kate (George Sidney) was inspired by The Taming of the Shrew.
  • Forbidden Planet (Nicholas Nayfack) was inspired by The Tempest.
  • Looking for Richard (Al Pacino) was inspired by Richard III.
  • The most popular name from a Shakespeare play used today is Olivia.
  • Romeo and Juliet is based on an Italian folktale, which Shakespeare read in translation.
  • Shakespeare’s epitaph wards off would-be grave robbers with a curse and indeed, Shakespeare’s remains have yet to be disturbed!
  • It’s believed that Shakespeare wore a gold hoop earring, as he lived a bohemian lifestyle and was not a pirate!
  • Some people think Shakespeare was a fraud and was not to be!
Illuminating Shakespeare Artists' Impression.
Illuminating Shakespeare Artists’ Impression.

That’s it for now!

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a complimentary invitation, all opinions and the scrumptious rhubarb crumble and custard that I had at the Gala, are my very own!

In the summer I’ll be going to Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and possibly Russia!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be finalising my writing about Spain and focusing on Portugal!

Sometime between now and May 1st, I’ll be visiting the interactive exhibition Discover Mexico or Entdecke Mexiko taking place on Washingtonplatz. It’s free to the public. Go see!

On April 27th, I’ll be attending STRICTLY STAND-UP – The English Comedy Night Show!

On April 29th, the TV interviewed that I did for Deutsche Welle (Germany’s international broadcasting station), about the 5th wedding anniversary of our very own William & Kate, will be broadcast! As soon as I get the exact details, I’ll inform you all via Twitter and Facebook!

On May 5th, I’ll be at a Travel Massive & DNX Mingle so if you’re a blogger or just interested in travel, lifestyle or travel technology, then come and meet us! Registration and attendance is free of charge!

From May 18th – May 22nd, I’ll be at the Berlin Music Video Award ceremony.

April is hopping!

Berlin is going to be so much fun, so if you’re in town, come and join us!

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin in April, you must be bonkers!

Watch this space!

To be or not to be? That isn't a question, that's the Queen's dinner & a Night Out with William Shakespeare!
To be or not to be? That isn’t a question, that’s the Queen’s dinner & a Night Out with William Shakespeare!

Would you choose dinner with the Queen? Would you choose beer with Shakespeare? Or do you prefer rhubard and custard?

See you in Berlin.

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