Britain finally freed itself from EU shackles early this year, at the end of the Brexit transition period. At 11 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Britain stopped following the rules set by Brussels, leaving the single market and the customs union. Since leaving the European trade bloc, which now has only 27 member states, the UK has forged its own future with a series of free trade agreements.
The country’s first major deal was signed with Japan in October and “goes beyond” the existing deal with the EU, according to the government.
Then, in June, the UK signed a duty-free deal with Australia, allowing cheaper imports of British cars, Scotch whiskey and other goods into the country.
As the government negotiated Brexit, it was spurred on by charm offensives from members of the royal family, who visited a range of EU countries.
Although royals generally don’t comment on political matters, Prince Charles, 72, once seemed to blurt out his views on Brexit.
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In February last year, the Prince of Wales visited the Cabinet Office, along with his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, 74.
The heir apparent gave a short speech and appeared to thank officials for bringing Brexit to fruition.
He said: “I congratulate you, especially when I know how much extra work you have had to do over the past two years.
“With probably little sleep and not seeing a lot of your families, so I hope now things are a little less stressful.”
Charles and Camilla were greeted for the visit by Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister of the Cabinet Office.
“When I was much, much younger, I remember spending some time going through different departments.
“I was even able to spend the whole day at number 10 with the then Prime Minister, Mr. [James] Callaghan, which was fascinating, you can imagine, at this point in life.
The Prince of Wales added that he has great “respect and great value” for the public service and its functions.
He told those gathered: “I realize how extremely important you all play a role.
“It’s easy to say, but I know it depends so much on how you all work as a team and then as one big team.
Earlier today, Charles and Camilla visited the Tower of London to mark 535 years since the founding of the Yeoman Warders, commonly known as Beefeaters.
The couple shared jokes with the Royal Guards as Camilla used a replica of Henry VIII’s hunting dagger to cut a lantern-shaped cake.