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It’s a test that thousands of people have to pass every year, without much discussion or discourse. Until today. When Meghan Markle on the latest drop of her Archetypes podcast mentioned she’d found the UK’s citizenship test “so hard” even Prince Harry had “no idea” of some of the answers, it suddenly gained particular significance.
So, as a US national married to a UK citizen who has lived here for just over two years, I was duly dispatched by my colleagues at the Express to see just how hard it really is.
After heading to a local coffee shop and ordering a tea – drinking coffee didn’t seem right while taking a British citizenship test – I racked my brain trying to recall everything I learned in school from the Magna Carta to Admiral Nelson before logging on to take the official Life in the UK Test, which is taken by thousands of would-be citizens every year.
I trip up out of the gate. First question: where is the Cenotaph? I answer Trafalgar Square incorrectly. It’s in Whitehall…and I’ve walked past it a hundred times. Not a great start on my quest to become a subject of the Crown.
Next up is a test of my British geography knowledge. What is the capital of England? Boom. I live here, London.
I’m starting to wonder what all the fuss is about. Question three, when is Christmas Eve? Come on…what’s Meghan even talking about?
But maybe I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security. Question four: when did Christian communities first arrive in England? I fancy myself a bit of a history buff, but I have no idea. The answer is the 3rd and 4th Centuries. Maybe Meghan is right after all.
I redeem myself by remembering that William the Conqueror built the Tower of London and that the UK was created by the Act of Union.
Next, name two British overseas territories. Well, they stuck Napoleon on St Helena and a war was fought over the Falkland Islands. I’m safe there.
I am scraping by now. You need to get 75 percent correct to pass and this practice test has 24 questions. If I can get 18 right, I’m home free.
What did the Chartists campaign for, is next up? I’m not sure but I take a guess on voting rights for the working class and nail it. You’ve got to have a bit of luck in life.
Then, when is St David’s day? I’ll admit that what may seem like an easy question for most Brits completely stumps my American brain. March 1? A lucky guess. Riding lady luck again.
The final question is on British sport, a subject that I am notoriously poor on. Who was the first Briton to win the Olympic gold medal in the 10,000 metres? It’s got to be Mo Farah, and it is.
I finish the test with a score of 21 out of 24 correct – or 87.5 percent. Considering my British-born colleague got a whopping nine incorrect answers, I’m pretty happy with that.
As for me, I’ve passed and am well on my way to becoming one of His Majesty’s loyal subjects.
To be fair to the Duchess of Sussex, some of the questions are quite difficult for a non-native. To be less fair, however, Harry, you have no excuse. You’re the King’s son…let’s hope your US knowledge is better, eh?
* Do you think you could do better? Give it a go here… /
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