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Words and pictures that captured the headlines in 2018

UK News | Published:

The Royal Family filled newspapers and websites throughout the year, with an engagement, a baby and two weddings.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Brexit, Russian spies, extreme weather and football mania led the news agenda in 2018.

Leaping into the new year, Tom Cruise braved icy January winds as he sprinted across the roof of Blackfriars train station in London. A low-flying helicopter was filming the stunt for the sixth instalment of the Mission Impossible series.

The actor films a scene as he runs along Blackfriars Bridge in London (Victoria Jones/PA)
Tom Cruise can be seen running across the roof of Blackfriars station, where trains passed below him as normal (Victoria Jones/PA)

The following month Cruise took to the skies for a second time, filming a scene from the chimney of the capital’s Tate Modern, standing high in the London skyline at 99 metres tall.

The Royal Family continued to hit the headlines throughout the year, starting with an engagement in January.

Princess Eugenie and her long-term boyfriend Jack Brooksbank announced they were to be wed at Windsor Castle in the autumn – the same wedding venue as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Review of the Year 2018
Princess Eugenie arriving for her wedding to Jack Brooksbank at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle (Yui Mok/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
The Queen talking to Pony Major Mark Wilkinson with regimental mascot Cruachan IV (Andrew Milligan/PA)

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Review of the Year 2018
The Duchess of Cornwall enjoying an ice cream with Dame Judi Dench at Queen Victoria’s private beach, next to the monarch’s holiday home in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh during the polo at the Guards Polo Club, Windsor Great Park (Steve Parsons/PA)

Extreme weather courtesy of the “Beast from the East” froze the British Isles   in February.

The “beast” produced the coldest weather in five years, hitting transport and closing hundreds of schools.

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Review of the Year 2018
The falling snow looking down the Croft-an-Righ in Holyrood, Edinburgh, during the Beast from the East (Jane Barlow/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
New Metropolitan police officers braving the pouring rain at a passing out parade (John Stillwell/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
Students from the University of St Andrews taking part in the traditional May Day Dip (Jane Barlow/PA)
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Lightning flashes over Souter lighthouse in South Shields as heavy thunderstorms marked the end of the UK heatwave (Owen Humphreys/PA)

In March, Facebook dominated the headlines: a year-long investigation by the Observer revealed million of profiles on the social media site had been harvested by data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica.

Concerns that personal information had been used to influence choices at the ballot box in the UK and the US led to founder Mark Zuckerberg appearing in front of Congress in Washington.

He was ’empty chaired’ after declining to do the same in Westminster.

Earlier in the month, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found seriously ill on a bench in Salisbury.

Forensic officers in gas masks at the London Road cemetery during the Salisbury incident (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Forensic officers in gas masks at the London Road cemetery during investigations into the Salisbury incident (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
CCTV image of Russian nationals Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov on Fisherton Road, Salisbury on March 4 (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The pair had been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok in an attack which Prime Minister Theresa May said had “almost certainly” been approved by the Russian state.

The political agenda was dominated by the Windrush scandal in April when it was revealed that some immigrants who arrived from the Commonwealth decades ago as children had been told they were in the UK illegally and faced deportation.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned in the wake of the scandal although she made a return to the Cabinet later as Work and Pensions Secretary.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed the birth of their third child, Prince Louis Arthur Charles, who is fifth in line to the throne, on April 23. His birth pushed his uncle, Prince Harry, down to sixth in the royal lineage.

Royal Baby
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their newborn son outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle talking to sisters Jean Dickinson and Irene Gould on a visit to Millennium Point in Birmingham (Victoria Jones/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
Meghan walks down the aisle as she arrives in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle (Danny Lawson/PA)

But by the next month, Harry was firmly back at the top of the royal news agenda with the world watching as he wed US actress Meghan Markle in a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

A 600-strong guest list of Hollywood stars and royals, plus a combined UK TV audience of 11.5 million people at home, watched the proceedings.

Later in May, Ireland voted to legalise abortion in a historic referendum. Nearly two in three Irish voters opted to repeal the eighth amendment to the constitution.

Review of the Year 2018
A woman kneeling in front of a mural of Savita Halappanavar in Dublin as votes were counted in the Irish referendum on abortion rights (Niall Carson/PA)

The summer months saw a six week heatwave, with temperatures across the country regularly topping 30C. The Met Office declared it the hottest summer on record for England and joint hottest for the UK.

Review of the Year 2018
People on Bournemouth beach as the hot weather continued across the country (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
A bead of sweat falling from a member of The Queen’s Guard as he took part in the Changing the Guard ceremony at Wellington Barracks in London in July (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The balmy weather coincided with the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia and England made it to the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.

The British Beer & Pub Association said beer sales were up 4.4% on the previous year during the third-quarter of 2018 thanks to the success of the England team, who eventually lost to Croatia.

England fans in Nizhny Novgorod ahead of their match against Panama (Aaron Chown/PA)
England fans in Nizhny Novgorod ahead of their match against Panama (Aaron Chown/PA)

In July, Donald Trump visited the UK to meet with Theresa May and the Queen at Windsor Castle. His visit was marked by tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets of London, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan granting permission for a giant, nappy-wearing, baby Trump blimp to fly over the city.

Donald Trump walks with Theresa May prior to a joint press conference at Chequers. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Donald Trump walks with Theresa May prior to a joint press conference at Chequers (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
‘Stop Trump’ demonstrators march through London as part of the protests against the visit of the US President (Yui Mok/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
The ‘Baby Trump’ balloon inflated in London’s Parliament Square, as part of the protests against the visit of Donald Trump (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A summit held at Chequers, the country residence of Mrs May, led to three ministerial resignations in July over a proposed Brexit deal.

Brexit Secretary David Davis was first out the door, followed by No 2 at the Department for Exiting the EU, Steve Baker.

Review of the Year 2018
Boris Johnson bringing tea for the press to drink outside his house in Thame (Aaron Chown/PA)

Boris Johnson handed in his resignation letter soon afterwards, ending the Old Etonian former Mayor of London’s tenure as Foreign Secretary.

October saw the second royal wedding of the year, when Princess Eugenie married Jack Brooksbank, a drinks brand ambassador. More than 800 guests were invited to the ceremony at the same venue her cousin Harry had used earlier in the year.

Review of the Year 2018
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank in the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London after they announced their engagement (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
Prince George has a giggle while acting as page boy at the wedding of Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank (Yui Mok/PA)

Meghan’s choice to wear a long coat to the wedding led to speculation she could be expecting. The following week, Kensington Palace revealed the Duchess of Sussex was indeed pregnant and due to give birth in the spring of 2019.

May makes her way onto stage at the party conference in Birmingham Stefan Rousseau/PA)
May makes her way onto stage at the party conference in Birmingham (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
The Prime Minister also broke into dance while meeting with scouts at the United Nations offices in Nairobi during her visit to Africa (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Earlier in the month, the Conservative Party conference briefly dominated the headlines after Mrs May made her way onto stage dancing to Abba’s before delivering her keynote speech.

November 11 marked 100 years since the end of the first First World War. The Prince of Wales led the nation in remembering those who gave their lives as he laid the wreath at the Cenotaph while the Queen watched from the balcony of the Foreign Office.

The Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Cambridge during the remembrance service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall (Andrew Matthews/PA)
The Duchess of Cornwall, the Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge during the remembrance service at the Cenotaph memorial in Whitehall (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
The Tommy War memorial under the stars in Seaham, County Durham (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
The unveiling of artist Rob Heard’s Shrouds of the Somme installation, honouring the dead of the First World War, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
Piper Louise Marshall playing Battle’s O’er, the traditional Scottish lament played at the end of battle, at dawn alongside the Forth Bridge at North Queensferry on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice (Jane Barlow/PA)

Foreign news dominated the final quarter of the year. There was worldwide outrage after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

British academic Matthew Hedges, who had been held in the UAE on spying charges since May, was sentenced to life in November. After diplomatic talks between the UK and UAE, he was granted clemency and returned to the UK after over five months in prison.

The year involved numerous negotiations, debates and protests concerning Brexit that are set to continue into 2019. On November 14, Mrs May published a 500-page withdrawal agreement that split the Cabinet and the country.

Mrs May makes a statement in 10 Downing Street after she survived the vote of no confidence (Victoria Jones/PA)
Mrs May makes a statement in 10 Downing Street after she survived the vote of no confidence (Victoria Jones/PA)
Review of the Year 2018
An anti-Brexit demonstrator holding the European Union and England flags outside the Houses of Parliament (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Following a year of high-profile resignations, Dominic Raab quit as Brexit Secretary over the proposed deal, followed by Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey.

A meaningful vote on the deal, due to be held on December 11, was postponed by the Prime Minister amid doubts it would pass through the House of Commons.

After months of attacks by Tory Brexiteers angry at her handling of negotiations with the EU,  Mrs May finally faced a no confidence vote on December 12.

Review of the Year 2018
Sir Graham Brady (centre), chairman of the 1922 Committee, announcing that Theresa May has survived an attempt by Conservative MPs to oust her as party leader with a motion of no confidence (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

She won but more than a third of her party’s MPs voted  against her.

And her victory did not bring an end to her troubles.

Herr Withdrawal Agreement has still not been approved by the House of Commons with the clock ticking down to Brexit day on March 29 when the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.

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