Royal Wedding Precedes Media Scandal
- United Kingdom Main Page
- The Magna Carta Is Signed and a House of Commons Is Born
- The Church of England Is Established and Parliament Reigns Supreme
- England's Empire Grows While the American Colonies Revolt
- Democratic Government Emerges
- Britain Enters WWII
- Britain Enters European Community and Margaret Thatcher Becomes First Female Prime Minister
- Tony Blair and the Labor Party End Conservative Rule
- Britain Supports Post-Sept. 11 America, Enters the Iraq War
- Terror Strikes at Home
- Gordon Brown Succeeds Blair
- A Historic Changing of the Guard
- Royal Wedding Precedes Media Scandal
- London Sets New Olympic Record
- Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes and Receives Royal Approval
- The Duchess of Cambridge Gives Birth to a Baby Boy—and Later a Girl
- Parliament Rejects Cameron's Plan to Strike Syria
- Cameron Wins a Second Term in a Resounding Victory
Royal Wedding Precedes Media Scandal
On April 29, 2011, Kate Middleton married Prince William in a $20 million ceremony watched by more than 3 billion people. A million people lined the streets of London, half a million gathered in front of Buckingham Palace, and two billion tuned in via television or computer to watch the couple take their vows at Westminster Abbey. Middleton received rave reviews for wearing a modern, but restrained wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton, the creative director for the late Alexander McQueen.
A media scandal involving the News of the World , the British tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch, riveted England during the summer of 2011 and had observers all over the world closely following the constantly evolving story. Murdoch shuttered the 168-year-old paper after several allegations surfaced that staffers hacked into voicemail accounts belonging to not only a 13-year-old murder victim, but also the relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, members of the Royal family, and other public figures. Prime Minister David Cameron ordered two separate investigations after Andy Coulson, Cameron's former communications director and a former editor of News of the World , was arrested under suspicion of corruption and conspiring to intercept communications.
Murdoch's News Corporation suffered financially as stock prices took a hit and he withdrew his $12 billion bid to buy British Sky Broadcasting. Nearly 20 people were arrested in the scandal, including Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the News of the World , on suspicion of illegally intercepting phone calls and bribing the police, and Neil Wallis, a former deputy editor at the tabloid, on suspicion of phone hacking and bribery of police officers. In addition, Paul Stephenson and John Yates, two Scotland Yard senior police officials, resigned amid allegations that police accepted bribes from News of the World employees.
In testimony before a parliamentary committee in July, Rupert Murdoch and his son James apologized for the wiretapping and hacking but denied they knew the unethical practices were taking place at the paper. "This is the most humble day of my life," the elder Murdoch said during the hearing. Another humbling moment occurred when a man threw a pie tin filled with shaving cream at Rupert Murdoch. His wife, Wendi, jumped from her seat and punched the man.
Rioting and looting broke out in several cities throughout the country in early August 2011 after police shot and killed Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old black man from north London. The protest over his killing was initially peaceful but turned violent, with demonstrators fighting police with makeshift weapons and setting fire to police cars and several buildings. The riots spread to other cities, and police were widely criticized as ineffectual in stemming the violence and looting. Cameron pledged to "fight back" against the rioters, describing them as "groups of thugs."