2018 in Pictures: Trump’s Visit, WWI Centenary, Free Tommy Rally
2018 has been the year of historic centenaries, royal births and marriages, presidential visits, and dancing prime ministers. Here’s a review of this year in pictures.
January — the Super Moon
Visible in the night skies over Britain on January 31st, the super blue blood moon was a product of three lunar phenomena: a super moon, where the full moon is closer to the earth in its orbit; a blue moon, where it was the second full moon of the calendar month; and a blood moon, where the moon in total eclipse appears red. The event occurred last on December 30th, 1982, and is not expected to happen again until January 31st, 2037.
A supermoon rises behind St. Paul’s Cathedral on January 31, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
A British Airways Airbus A-319 aircraft from Stuttgart flies in front of a ‘super blue moon’ on its approach to London Heathrow Airport on January 31, 2018. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A Super Blue Blood Moon sets behind Downside Abbey, a Benedictine monastery, in Stratton-on-the-Fosse on February 1, 2018 in Somerset, England. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
February — the Beast from the East
Caused by an arctic airmass stretching from eastern Russia to the British Isles and formed on February 24th, it combined with Storm Emma and brought snow, causing travel disruptions with dozens of roads closed, and flights and public transport cancelled. When the ‘Beast from the East’ returned the weekend of the 17th to 18th of March, the Met office issued a “danger to life” warning, with the weather fronts killing ten people over the near-month long stormy period.
A Household Cavalry Guard stands in the blizzard as heavy snow hits Westminster on February 28, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.Freezing weather conditions dubbed the “Beast from the East” bring snow and sub-zero temperatures to the UK. Amber warnings are in place in northern England, the East Midlands, London, the east and south-east of England. Scotland’s weather warning has been upgraded to red, which means risk to life, widespread damage, travel and power disruption are likely. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Snow drifts in fields surrounding the village of Zennor near St Ives on February 28, 2018 in Cornwall, England. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
A woman makes her way through the snow on March 1, 2018 in Balloch, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
March — The Novichok poisoning
On March 4th, former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who was visiting from Russia, were found slumped on a bench in the cathedral city of Salisbury, England, after having been poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok.
Military specialists in chemical warfare were dispatched to investigate and decontaminate the area. Both the Skripals recovered, as well as a police officer who fell ill after visiting Mr Skripal’s home. Based on intelligence, Prime Minister Theresa May later that month blamed Russia for the attack, expelling 23 Russian diplomats that the British government claimed were “undeclared intelligence officers.”
To date, the Kremlin has not accepted responsibility for the poisoning.
Specialist officers in protective suits secure the police forensic tent that had been blown over by the wind and is covering the bench where Sergei Skripal was found critically with his daughter on March 4 and were taken to hospital sparking a major incident, in Salisbury on March 8, 2018 in Salisbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Military personnel wearing protective suits remove a police car and other vehicles from a public car park as they continue investigations into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal on March 11, 2018 in Salisbury, England. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Police officers in forensics suits and protective masks work at the scene of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal on March 13, 2018 in Salisbury, England. British Prime Minister Theresa May has given the Russian government a deadline of midnight tonight to explain why a nerve agent of Russian origin was used in the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Mr Skripal who was granted refuge in the UK following a ‘spy swap’ between the US and Russia in 2010 and his daughter remain critically ill after being attacked with a nerve agent. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
April — the birth of Prince Louis
Louis Arthur Charles, the third child of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, was born on April 23rd, the same date as St George’s Day, which celebrates the English saint, and the birthday of William Shakespeare.
Fifth in line to the throne, His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge was named after the Prince of Wales’s mentor and great-uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten who was murdered by the IRA in 1979. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also paid tribute to Prince Charles in the second and third names, with the Prince of Wales also having Arthur as a middle name.
The new born son Prince Louis of Cambridge of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge as they depart the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England. The Duchess safely delivered a boy at 11:01 am, weighing 8lbs 7oz, who will be fifth in line to the throne. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
May — Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel
On May 19th, the younger son of Prince Charles the Prince of Wales Prince Harry married American television actress Meghan Markle. The wedding took place at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, with Queen Elizabeth II later conferring on Harry the titles of Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton, and Baron Kilkeel while Markle became Duchess of Sussex.
A U.S. citizen, the Duchess of Sussex began the years-long process to become a British citizen, though it is not known if she will retain her American citizenship and be a dual national.
US actress Meghan Markle (C) walks down the aisle in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 during her wedding to Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. (Photo by DANNY LAWSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex wave from the Ascot Landau Carriage during their carriage procession on Castle Hill outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 after their wedding ceremony. (Photo by Aaron Chown – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND – MAY 19: Fans cheer as Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and the Duchess of Sussex ride a horse-drawn carriage after their wedding ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor on May 19, 2018 after their wedding ceremony. (Photo by Toby Melville – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
June — the ‘Free Tommy’ rally
June 9th saw massive crowds turn up to hear Dutch populist firebrand Geert Wilders give a speech demanding the release of citizen journalist and English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, who was serving 13 months in prison for contempt of court after livestreaming on Facebook outside of a Muslim child rape gang trial. Supporters and free speech activists accused authorities of stifling freedom on the press, particularly after a period of enforced media blackout on the reporting of Robinson’s trial and imprisonment.
Appeals judges later ordered Robinson be freed after determining the process had been too hasty and due legal procedure had not been followed, giving “rise to unfairness.” A retrial is expected some time in the New Year.
Dutch Leader of the Opposition Geert Wilders of nationalist Party for Freedom surrounded by police during a ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ Protest where he spoke to the crowd on Whitehall on June 9, 2018 in London, England. Protesters are calling for the release of English Defense League (EDL) founder Tommy Robinson who is serving 13 months in prison for contempt of court. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Demonstrators climb aboard and surround a sightseeing bus during a ‘Free Tommy Robinson’ protest on Whitehall on June 9, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
July — Royal Air Force Centenary Flypast
On July 10th, marking one hundred days after the Royal Air Force’s birthday, civilians, RAF personnel, and the Royal Family gathered on the Mall for the parade, with World War Two Spitfires and Lancashire bombers, Chinook helicopters, Tornadoes, Typhoons, and Red Arrows taking part in the centenary flypast.
The RAF was formed on April 1st, 1918, towards the end of the Great War by merging the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service and according to the RAF marked the first time that any country had formed an entirely separate and independent air force.
In this handout image provided by the Ministry of Defence, thousands of people fill the Mall waiting to see the RAF 100 flypast during RAF 100 celebrations on July 10, 2018 in London, England. A centenary parade and a flypast of up to 100 aircraft over Buckingham Palace takes place today to mark the Royal Air Forces’ 100th birthday. (Photo by Ministry of Defence via Getty Images)
Royal Air Force personnel, parading down the Mall during RAF 100 celebrations on July 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Ministry of Defence via Getty Images)
Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team taking part in the Centenary Flypast over Buckingham Palace during RAF 100 celebrations on July 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Ministry of Defence via Getty Images)
Members of the Royal Air Force watch the Red Arrows flypast over Horse Guards Parade during RAF 100 celebrations on July 10, 2018 in London, England.(Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
A trio of F-35B Lightning II aircraft of 617 Squadron taking part in the RAF100 parade and flypast over Buckingham Palace during RAF 100 celebrations on July 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Ministry of Defence via Getty Images)
July — U.S. President Donald J. Trump visits the United Kingdom
July also saw the visit of President Trump, an Anglophile who is keen to sign a bilateral free trade agreement with the United Kingdom post-Brexit. President and first lady Melania Trump arrived on the 12th, attending a black-tie dinner with Prime Minister Theresa May at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Anglo-American British wartime prime minister Winston Churchill.
On the 13th, the President and Mrs May visited military academy Sandhurst, followed by a press conference at Chequers while the first lady and Mr May visited a retirement home for elderly veterans. The Trumps then met Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle to inspect the Guard of Honours military march before joining the monarch for tea. On Saturday, the President travelled to Scotland to play golf at his Turnberry resort in south Ayrshire; President Trump’s mother Mary Macleod Trump was born in Scotland.
US President Donald Trump (R) and US First Lady Melania Trump (L) are greeted by an honour guard of Royal Air Force presonnel after disembarking Air Force One at Stansted Airport, north of London on July 12, 2018, as he begins his first visit to the UK as US president. – The four-day trip, which will include talks with Prime Minister Theresa May, tea with Queen Elizabeth II and a private weekend in Scotland, is set to be greeted by a leftist-organised mass protest in London on Friday. (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
First Lady Melania Trump, U.S. President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May watch a military band at Blenheim Palace ahead of a dinner with business leaders at Blenheim Palace on July 12, 2018 in Woodstock, England. Blenheim Palace is the birth place of the great wartime British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, of whom the President is a big fan. The Prime Minister hosted dinner for the President and First Lady and business leaders as part of the First Couple’s official visit to the UK. (Photo by Will Oliver – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May shake hands during a joint press conference following their meeting at Chequers, the prime minister’s country residence, near Ellesborough, northwest of London on July 13, 2018 on the second day of Trump’s UK visit. – Britain and the United States have agreed to pursue “an ambitious UK-US free trade agreement” after Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday following talks with US President Donald Trump. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
First Lady, Melania Trump, accompanied by Philip May, makes Remembrance Day poppies with schoolchildren and British Army veterans, known as Chelsea Pensioners, at Royal Hospital Chelsea on July 13, 2018 in London, England. First Lady, Melania Trump, visited the Chelsea Pensioners while her husband, President Donald Trump, held bi-lateral talks with Theresa May at the Prime Minister’s Country Residence. The Chelsea Pensioners are British Army personnel who are cared for at the Services retirement home at The Royal Hospital in London. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II greets President of the United States, Donald Trump and First Lady, Melania Trump at Windsor Castle on July 13, 2018 in Windsor, England. Her Majesty welcomed the President and Mrs Trump at the dais in the Quadrangle of the Castle. A Guard of Honour, formed of the Coldstream Guards, gave a Royal Salute and the US National Anthem was played. The Queen and the President inspected the Guard of Honour before watching the military march past. The President and First Lady then joined Her Majesty for tea at the Castle. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
August — BoJo’s Burqa Comments
An opinion piece for The Telegraph in which former foreign secretary said it was “absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes,” describing the Islamic modesty garment the burqa, sparked protest by leftists but also debate about whether the garment should be banned in the UK, with a majority of Britons backing a burqa ban.
An independent panel found in December that Mr Johnson had not breached Tory Party rules.
Local people protest outside the Hillingdon Conservative Association office on August 9, 2018 in Uxbridge, England. Today’s protest is being held following comments made by former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, against the wearing of Burkas by Muslim women in the United Kingdom. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
September — Nigel Farage returns to frontline politics
In August, the former UKIP leader Nigel Farage announced his return to politics in response to Prime Minister Theresa May’s soft Brexit plans and to stop the political elite from betraying the British electorate.
The veteran Eurosceptic politician, co-chairman of Leave Means Leave, launched the “rebirth of the People’s Army” on September 22nd, touring the country and speaking at rallies with cross-party colleagues including the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party’s Sammy Wilson, Labour’s Kate Hoey, and the Tory’s Jacob Rees-Mogg.
MEP and former leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage walks past the pro-Brexit ‘Leave Means Leave’ campaign bus during its launch in Westminster on September 20, 2018 in London, England. The political campaign group launch a series of billboards today calling on the government to scrap the so-called Chequers Brexit plan. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
(L-R) Labour MP Kate Hoey, Nigel Farage, MEP and Vice Chairman of the pro-Brexit Leave Means Leave organisation and Conservative MP David Davis, the former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union attend a Leave Means Leave rally held at the University of Bolton Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Bolton, England. The Bolton rally is the first in a series of Leave Means Leave events to be held as discussions continue over the Brexit deal. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Supporters attend a Leave Means Leave rally held at the University of Bolton Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Bolton, England. The Bolton rally is the first in a series of Leave Means Leave events to be held as discussions continue over the Brexit deal. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
October — Theresa May the Dancing Queen
Prime Minister Theresa May reprised her ‘May-Bot’ robot dancing routine to the tune of Abba’s “Dancing Queen” as she walked on stage before giving her leader’s speech at Tory Party conference on October 3rd, in self-deprecating reference to a peculiar dance the prime minister had made at an earlier event in South Africa.
Confounding political pundits and preceding an hour-long speech light in substance that avoided talk of leadership challenges, her dance moves nevertheless dominated the front pages.
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 03: British Prime Minister Theresa May dances as she walks out onto the stage to deliver her leader’s speech during the final day of the Conservative Party Conference at The International Convention Centre on October 3, 2018 in Birmingham, England. Theresa May delivered her leader’s speech to the 2018 Conservative Party Conference today. Appealing to the “decent, moderate and patriotic”, she stated that the Conservative Party is for everyone who is willing to “work hard and do their best”. This year’s conference took place six months before the UK is due to leave the European Union, with divisions on how Brexit should be implemented apparent throughout. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
(Collage of photos by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
I am convinced that the same person who wrote Theresa May's Brexit plan taught her to dance, given that both are equally shambolic and embarrassing.pic.twitter.com/X8hNjMLcNP
2018 saw another centenary — that of the Great War. One commemoration installation, by film direct Danny Boyle, sought to connect communities with those they lost 100 years ago.
Thousands of volunteers etched in the sand on 32 beaches across the UK silhouettes and portraits of soldiers, munitions workers, and nurses who died in the Great War. Ephemeral in nature, ‘Pages of the Sea’ sought to create connections between the past and the present whereby the memory of the sacrifices of the dead would outlast what tides had washed away.
DOWNHILL, NORTHERN IRELAND – NOVEMBER 11: Members of the public gather on Downhill beach, for filmmaker Danny Boyle Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in Downhill, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW)
REDCAR, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 11: The word ‘Dad’ is written next to a sand drawing of a soldier drawn on Redcar beach during a large scale sand portrait project called ‘Pages of the Sea’ on November 11, 2018 in Redcar, United Kingdom. Redcar was among 32 other beaches around the country taking part in the First World War commemoration which is a nationwide Armistice Project hosted by film director Danny Boyle. The image of Private Theophilus Jones, from Darlington is etched into the sand on Redcar beach because he was the first British soldier to die on English soil during World War One when in December 16, 1914, while guarding the Heugh Gun Battery in Hartlepool German warships bombarded the town, targeting an ironworks and shipyards. The portraits chosen by Danny Boyle represent a range of interesting stories of ordinary people who gave their lives to the war effort covering a range of ranks and regiments, from doctors to munition workers, Privates to Lieutenants to Majors. The armistice ending the First World War between the Allies and Germany was signed at Compiègne, France on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – 11 am on the 11th November 1918. This day is commemorated as Remembrance Day with special attention being paid for this year’s centenary. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
PORTHCURNO, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 11: People on Porthcurno beach walk past a large scale sand portrait of Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle, one of a number from the project called Pages of the Sea near Penzance on November 11, 2018 in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle who was in the Coldstream Guards and grew up in Cornwall, was 26 when he was killed by a snipers bullet near Ypres on November 2 1914. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
FOLKESTONE, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 11: A woman and her son look at etchings in the sand created by the public as members of the public gather on Sunny Sands Beach, Folkstone, for filmmaker Danny Boyle Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in Folkestone, England. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW)
DOWNHILL, NORTHERN IRELAND – NOVEMBER 11: Members of the public gather around a portrait drawn in the sand of British Army Staff Nurse Rachael Ferguson (1886-26 June 1918) on Downhill beach, for filmmaker Danny Boyle Pages of the Sea, commissioned by 14-18 NOW to mark the centenary of Armistice Day on November 11, 2018 in Downhill, Northern Ireland. Staff Nurse Ferguson lost her life serving her country at Bordighera, Italy where she she lies at rest in Bordighera British Cemetery. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for 14-18 NOW)
December — Gatwick on lockdown over drone sightings
Holidaymakers’ plans were put on hold after a number of drones were believed to have been sighted flying over Gatwick Airport on the evening of Wednesday the 19th of December, shutting down the airport for 36 hours, grounding 760 flights, and affecting 110,00 passengers.
The situation descended into farce when police wrongly arrested two people over the incident, admitted that many of the more than 90 drone sightings which kept the airport closed for a day and a half may have been of police drones, and said they were exploring the possibility that there may have been no drone at all.
Police officers stand near equipment on the rooftop of a building at London Gatwick Airport, south of London, on December 21, 2018, as flights resumed following the closing of the airfield due to a drones flying. – British police were Friday considering shooting down the drone that has grounded flights and caused chaos at London’s Gatwick Airport, with passengers set to face a third day of disruption. Police said it was a “tactical option” after more than 50 sightings of the device near the airfield since Wednesday night when the runway was first closed. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
Passengers wait at the North Terminal at London Gatwick Airport, south of London, on December 20, 2018 after all flights were grounded due to drones flying over the airfield. (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)