Elizabeth II Announces Camilla Will Be Queen At Platinum Jubilee 

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II announced at her historic Platinum Jubilee that the Duchess of Cornwall will be known as Queen Camilla when Charles becomes King. When Charles and Camilla married in 2005, she initially took on the title “Princess Consort,” despite having the right to the title of Queen. At the time, the choice was made out of respect for Charles’ first wife, Diana. 

It’s expected that the Queen consulted her direct heirs, Charles and William, before making this decision. The announcement suggests that the family agreed that the British public would be ready to accept Camilla as Queen. 

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As Queen Elizabeth approaches the 70th anniversary for her accession to the throne, she also laid out her vision for the royal family’s transition into the next phase of their reign. 

“I would like to express my thanks to you all for your support. I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me.” 

“When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service,” the Queen stated. 

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The monarch is the only individual who can define royal titles, however, the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s union in the 90s led to some complications when it came to the future of the throne. 

Diana famously stated that there were “three” individuals in the marriage between her and Charles, the third being Camilla, who Charles later confessed to having an indiscretion with during the end of his marriage with Diana. 

As time progressed, Camilla began to be seen in a different light to the public, and this recent announcement confirms her role in the family’s future. 

“As we mark this anniversary, it gives me pleasure to renew to you the pledge I gave in 1947 that my life will always be devoted to your service. I have a sense of hope and optimism for the year ahead. I was blessed that in Prince Philip I had a partner willing to carry out the role of consort and unselfishly make the sacrifices that go with it. It is a role I saw my own mother perform during my father’s reign,” she shared.

The monarch ended her message by stating she looked forward “to continuing to serve you with all my heart and hope this jubilee will provide an opportunity for people to come together after the difficulties of recent years.”

UK Covid-19 Restrictions To Be Extended Due To Spreading Of Delta Strain 

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a delay of the next phase of England’s Covid-19 recovery and reopening efforts this week. According to reports from the British media, England will likely delay entering into the next phase of their reopening by four weeks amid a surge of the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus which was initially discovered in India. 

Originally, restrictions were due to be lifted on June 21st. These restrictions included the use of face masks, limiting the number of individuals who can meet indoors and outdoors, and what time establishments like nightclubs and bars can close. Reports suggest that the UK could be waiting until July 19th for any of these restrictions to be lifted or modified. 

Currently indoor gatherings are to be limited to six people indoors at a time and 30 people outdoors. People are being advised to continue to work from home whenever possible. 

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Public Health England, a group that has been compiling pandemic data for the UK, has reported this week that 42,323 new cases of the Delta variant have been recorded throughout the country, this is a 240% increase when compared to the amount of cases reported in the previous week. 

So far more than 70 million vaccine doses have been administered throughout the UK, and around 80% of the nation has received at least one dose. However, Public Health England reported that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were only 33% effective against the delta variant after a single show. 

Johnson told the media that he was prepared to continue lockdown and remain cautious when it comes to future reopenings. When it is eventually implemented, the fourth (and final) stage of the UK government’s “roadmap” of lockdown will allow for greater social gatherings to occur with less restrictions in terms of facial coverings and social distancing. 

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So far, all three of the government’s previous reopening stages have worked out to plan, so this delay in reopening as an extra precaution is being relatively well received, especially now that more England residents are receiving their vaccines. 

Investors and economic leaders aren’t too worried about the delays in reopenings either, especially considering it’s only set to last another month. 

“Leisure companies could be worst affected by any delay to lockdown easing in England as it will require a continuation of the social distancing rules, meaning pubs and restaurants can’t operate at full capacity,” said Russ Mould, investment director at British stockbroker AJ Bell.

“However, investors don’t seem too bothered by the risk, perhaps because speculation points to a mere four-week delay, albeit during a seasonally busy time.”

Only time will tell how long these delays will last, but the government is remaining positive that the UK will return to a greater sense of normalcy this summer.


Duke Of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip, Has Died At The Age Of 99

Lifelong companion to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip, has died this week, Buckingham Palace announced in a statement. He was 99-years-old. 

“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family joins with people around the world in mourning his loss,” the palace said in a statement. 

In mid-February the duke was admitted to the King Edward VII Hospital in London after feeling sick for a few days. The palace later confirmed he was being treated for an infection and would need heart surgery. 

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On March 1st Prince Phillip was transferred to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, also located in London, where he received continuous treatment for his infection before undergoing heart surgery. After a successful surgery, the duke was discharged in min-March. 

Given the UK’s current Covid-19 restrictions, it’s unclear as to what any tribute plans will look like for the prince. The Queen will need to sign off on any plans before they’re confirmed and it’s unknown if those plans were even made yet. 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke of the duke this week, claiming he’d “earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world.”

The Duke of Edinburgh was the longest-serving British consort. In 1947 he married who was then referred to as Princess Elizabeth in a wedding that helped ease a country’s stress from the damage done by World War II. 

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Throughout his seven decades of service, Philip was often accompanied by the Queen on royal engagements, but also conducted thousands of his own solo appearances. He supported a multitude of philanthropic endeavors and was associated with over 800 organizations. He also founded the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme, which is a “youth development program that operated in more than 130 countries and territories around the world,” according to the website. 

The duke was originally born the Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on the Greek island of Corfu in 1921. At just 18-months-old, his family left Greece when King Constantine was forced to abdicate after a military revolt. The family would later move to England in 1928. 

Philip became a decorated naval officer for his service during World War II, and when peace finally returned to Europe, he would go on to have one of the most public romances of the 20th century. 

Tributes for the duke have been appearing all throughout the world from Commonwealth nations, including India and Australia. According to CNN, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he had “distinguished career in the military and was at the forefront of many community service initiatives. May his soul rest in peace.” Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Philip “embodied a generation that we will never see again.”

Americans Covid-19 Vaccine

Greece And United Kingdom In Talks To Begin Implementing Vaccine Passports For Travel 

Greece is currently in technical talks with the United Kingdom over allowing Britons carrying a vaccine passport entry into the nation. Concerns from the rest of the European Union over new strains and a slowing of vaccine rollouts, however, may delay those discussions. 

Haris Theoharis is Greece’s tourism minister who recently spoke with the media about how he hopes to work with Boris Johnson’s current roadmap for allowing UK residents to travel, however, it’s unclear whether or not Greece and Brussels will break from their current restrictions that would prevent this sort of travel from occurring. 

Non-essential travel into most European countries has been widely prohibited to curb the spread of Covid-19. Of the European Union’s 27-member states, all leaders agreed that these restrictions must remain in place for the time being. 

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Theoharis, however, recently confirmed that Anglo-Greek technical teams were working on how to create a system in which mass travel could resume properly if facilitated correctly. 

“We’ll try to dovetail with the plan that has been announced in the UK. May 17th has been a set date and we certainly want to be ready by then. The roadmap was a very, very good move by the UK government … planning is a prerequisite for the travel industry.”

The EU’s head of state and government are projected to discuss vaccination rollouts this week, however, they don’t believe that these discussions mean travel should resume anytime soon. The number one priority is getting all citizens vaccinated and bringing this pandemic to a hopeful end. Greece and a few other member states have been in talks to separate themselves from the EU’s current travel restrictions in order to stimulate their economies more. 

Theoharis claims that his government would be pushing for a more organized agreement regarding vaccine passports at the EU level to allow travel to resume. France and Germany have been very vocal over their hesitation to implement vaccination passports for travel mainly because not everyone is vaccinated, and there’s not enough information about how the virus can be transmitted among vaccinated and unvaccinated groups of people. 

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“All we are saying is that with this system we’d be instituting two lanes in airports as it were. The vaccination lane and the non-vaccination lane which would facilitate travel quite a bit. We have to move fast. It’s already been decided that this certificate will be created on a Pan-European basis even if it is just for health reasons,” he explained. 

Theoharis went on to explain that Greece “wants to finish what we started and finish it quickly and briskly and at the same time aim high for the travel and tourism industry. There are a number of misconceptions around the certificate, the first being that it would be discriminatory. It’s not, because it’s just an alternative to negative testing.”

“The idea that it breaches privacy laws is also wrong because, if you prefer, you can travel as if you are not vaccinated and always get tested. A certificate simply allows somebody to travel without needing to test all the time. In that sense it’s hassle- free and cost-efficient. And on the health front there is greater probability a vaccinated person has fewer chances of spreading the disease than someone who is negative at some point in time.”

It’s unclear when Greece would begin implementing these new travel policies, if at all, because as mentioned before, the number one priority among all EU government bodies is getting everyone vaccinated and ending the pandemic once and for all. 

UK First Covid-19 Vaccine

First Individuals Receive Covid-19 Vaccine In UK 

The United Kingdom has become the first nation in the world to begin administering a Covid-19 vaccine to its citizens in a non-trial context. 90-year-old Margaret Keenan received the first of two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine this morning. Keenan turns 91 next week, and claims to feel “privileged” that she was given the first shot. 

“It’s the best early birthday present I could wish for because it means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the New Year after being on my own for most of the year.”

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William Shakespere is the 81-year-old Briton who received the second shot of the Covid-19 vaccine after Keenan this morning. Throughout the rest of the UK, Nurse Joanna Sloan became the first person in Northern Ireland to receive the vaccine and George Dyer became the first individual living in London to get the shot. 

Dyer is a former butcher and hospital volunteer who claims to feel very lucky to be one of the first people in the world to receive the vaccination. “Covid-19 is a terrible thing and I feel very lucky that I can now get this vaccine to keep the virus away. It’s like I’m about to be given a new lease of life, and I cannot wait to get back out there and make myself useful again.”

Gill Rogers is a Sussex resident who received the vaccine on Tuesday. Rogers’ husband unfortunately died from the virus back in April, and she claims the grief has been “quite hard” to endure especially in isolation, so the vaccination is giving her the ability to at least go outside and see others with a little less worry. 

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All vaccinated individuals should continue to abide by all standard health and safety practices implemented by the CDC until further notice, however, the vaccine does at least provide that extra layer of security. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the UK media this Tuesday morning that the vaccine will “gradually make a huge difference. It’s amazing to see the vaccine come out, it’s amazing to see this tremendous shot in the arm for the entire nation, but we can’t afford to relax now. I would just say to all those who are scared, don’t be … you see people take the vaccine this morning, in large numbers, people are going to be taking it in the next few days, and weeks and there is nothing to be nervous about.”

The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine but only 800,000 shots will be made available for the first wave of distribution so that other parts of the world that have already reserved dosages of the vaccine will have access to them as well once their respective governments give them the go ahead. 

The vaccine also is two doses administered at least three weeks apart, so around a third of the UK will be vaccinated after the first round of distribution. If the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine gets approved as well in the coming weeks, as it’s currently projected to, the UK will also have 7 million doses reserved for itself. 

Currently there are 50 vaccination hubs in hospitals across England and dozens others across Wales and Scotland. Individuals over the age of 80 as well as healthcare workers will be the first to be vaccinated. For now it’s only being made available via invitation for those 80 or over/all workers in the healthcare industry.

Coronavirus against the UK

UK Joins List Of European Countries Experiencing Rise In Covid-19 Cases 

The UK has joined the likes of France, Spain, and Germany this week as they continue to struggle with a slew of new coronavirus cases. Within a twenty-four hour period this past weekend over 3,000 people tested positive for Covid-19 in England after dozens of schools in the country reported outbreaks. 

Hospitalization rates are still low, however, past outbreaks have proven that it takes a few weeks after a major outbreak for hospital room occupancies to go up, so only time will tell if that remains as it is now. The UK is one of the countries that endured an intense and prolonged lockdown in the beginning of this pandemic, so any sort of new outbreak is very worrisome; especially one that impacts thousands. 

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Ministers are currently debating how to better control the situation, but have also received major backlash for their decision making regarding reopening schools and other educational establishments that are now directly leading to new cases. One thing is guaranteed, if the government doesn’t act soon infection, hospitalization, and death rates will be increasing in the coming weeks. 

States in the US and areas of Brazil have already begun closing schools that were previously reopened due to the same reasoning. Citizens are calling upon ministers to stop prioritizing the economy over human lives and close schools down. While the economy may take a massive hit due to these closings, it’s not worth it to have such large groups experiencing new outbreaks, simply to keep the economy in a relatively steady place. 

Other countries in Europe, and throughout the world, have implemented what’s generally referred to as a “zero Covid elimination strategy” that aims to stop community transmission and keep case numbers as low as possible, for as long as possible. In Scotland, for example, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has continuously given daily Covid media briefings to keep the public just as informed as the government is everyday; this has already led to a decline in case numbers in Scotland. 

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The testing and tracing systems in the UK are as greatly criticized as they are in the US as well. Testing sights aren’t as accessible and available as they should be, and results need to be made available within 24 hours to give citizens a better gage as to who needs to be quarantined. As of right now, citizens are travelling hundreds of miles in England to get tested. 

The reopening of schools and overall “relaxed” attitude the ministers are exhibiting by prioritizing the economy over health is also motivating the public to return to a life of normalcy. If world leaders are saying it’s okay for certain establishments to be open to make money, why wouldn’t citizens take advantage of that?

As of right now, it’s unlikely the UK will endure another nationwide lockdown as the ministers are expected to implement some major changes within the next week that will aim to slow down community transmission and keep everyone home. What’s most important is that the public listens to their healthcare professionals when it comes to case numbers and infection rates. Experts who are dealing with this virus head on everyday know first hand how bad the world still is in relation to this pandemic. So stay home as much as possible, wash your hands, wear facial coverings, and practice social distancing whenever it’s warranted.

School Books with Apple

Established Professor Claims ‘Higher Education In The UK Is Morally Bankrupt’

Ulf Schmidt has been living and working in the UK for the past 25 years, but after seeing how the educational system in the country is responding to the coronavirus pandemic in relation to keeping students/staff safe, he’s ready to leave.

Royal Crest

Queen Elizabeth II to Deliver Christmas Message

The U.K. is currently embroiled in a major political controversy as the newly-elected Conservative government works to finalize the country’s departure from the European Union. The decision to leave the E.U., known as Brexit, has proved to be one of the country’s more controversial political changes, as the decision led to years of fierce government debate and a historical election in which the Conservative Party gained near-total control of the government for the first time in decades. It is in this context, alongside numerous personal issues relating to the royal family, that Queen Elizabeth II will deliver her yearly Christmas message to the nation.

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Though the message is prerecorded, it will not broadcast until tomorrow, Christmas Day. However, Buckingham Palace released some excerpts from the transcript, revealing that the queen will refer to 2019 as a “quite bumpy” year. It’s not clear as of yet what exactly the queen is referring to, but there are a number of reasons why the year may have felt rough for the queen. The excerpts also reveal that the queen will mention the fact that this year is the 75th anniversary of D-Day and will deliver a general theme highlighting the importance of reconciliation and unity.

Early this year the queen’s husband, the 97-year-old Prince Philip was involved in a car crash that injured two women, leading him to apologize and relinquish his driver’s license, and generating a public debate about older drivers. While the royal family makes every effort to avoid getting directly involved in political matters, some U.K. government functions require the queen’s participation; for instance, this summer the newly-elected Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked the queen to suspend Parliament before his request was ruled unlawful by the U.K. Supreme Court. But perhaps the most controversial event involving the royal family this year was the aftermath of a disastrous interview between Prince Andrew and the BBC, during which he failed to adequately explain the nature of his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, leading him ultimately to step down from his public duties, an extremely rare decision for a member of the royal family.

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Right after the queen recorded her Christmas message, her husband was admitted to a hospital in London, where he spent four days, giving the queen a stressful end to an already-stressful year. While the queen generally does not get into specifics about political situations in her country during her Christmas address, she is likely to allude to the political turmoil that Britain underwent in 2019 and its effects on citizens. In this time of intense political conflict, the queen is likely to focus on reconciliation, stressing the importance of unity after an election that virtually guaranteed Brexit and ensured Conservative party rule for the next five years. The queen will say that “small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding.”

Because the queen follows a principle of remaining neutral with respect to politics, it’s not exactly clear which specific events she is referring to by stressing the importance of mutual understanding and harmony, but it’s not hard to imagine she’s talking about Brexit, which has polarized the nation. The address will be broadcast on the BBC at 3 p.m. local time tomorrow, Christmas Day. The address was filmed in Windsor Castle, in the Green Drawing Room, as the queen sat beside family photos. Notably, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and their 7-month old son Archie were not present among these photos, further suggesting a rift in the royal family that has been reported in tabloids over the past several months.

Ballot Box

Brexit Virtually Certain as Conservatives Sweep U.K. Election

A historic election in the U.K. has given the country’s Conservative Party a powerful majority in the British Parliament, allowing controversial Prime Minister Boris Johnson to essentially reshape British politics for years to come. Though the Labour Party had hoped that the recent election would remove Johnson from the position of Prime Minister, paving the way for a second referendum to potentially prevent the country’s departure from the European Union, voters decided overwhelmingly that Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was more fit to lead Britain.

Johnson, whose primary political message has been a promise to “get Brexit done” as quickly as possible, now faces little to no opposition as his power has just been augmented considerably. That being said, much of Britain’s future is now uncertain, as the negotiations involving the country’s departure from the European Union continue to be complicated and controversial. Experts are uncertain about the long-term ramifications of leaving the EU, though most economists project that the economic downturn already caused by the 2016 referendum, in which a slim majority of the country voted to leave the EU, will only worsen.

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Now, the country will almost certainly leave the European Union early next year, a polarizing move which is sure to delight half the country and frustrate the other half. For many living in the U.K., Brexit represents a rejection of liberal ideas in favor of conservative ones, as the decision to leave the E.U. is connected with anti-immigrant sentiment as well as nationalistic pride. Indeed, yesterday’s victory indicates how thoroughly this conservative sentiment has enraptured the British electorate, as the Conservative Party’s victory is the largest the country has seen since the victory that led to the election of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1987. The election represents a tremendous victory for Boris Johnson particularly because his tenure as Prime Minister has gotten off to a rocky start, characterized by several defeats in Parliament, as he was legally blocked from pursuing a no-deal Brexit and a deal he negotiated with the European Union was voted down in Parliament.

Now, however, Boris Johnson will be in power for five years, a period of time during which he has the power to make tremendous political changes to the country, with the historically consequential Brexit being the first order of business. The value of the pound skyrocketed after news of the election spread, reflecting a belief that the chaos that has for years defined British politics will soon subside and the country’s departure from the EU will be orderly and largely uncontested in Parliament, as Johnson’s power to negotiate terms of a Brexit deal in accordance with his wishes has expanded tremendously.

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That being said, Johnson still faces some opposition in Parliament. Specifically, the Scottish National Party, which gained more than a dozen seats in the election, stridently opposes Mr. Johnson’s desire to get Brexit done as quickly as possible, and the party may push for calls for a referendum on Scottish independence, which would allow Scotland to remain in the EU by breaking ties with England. Additionally, Mr. Johnson’s negotiations to leave the EU are likely to be influenced by the country’s working class, who are likely to focus on invigorating Britain’s manufacturing economy and protecting the economy from imports, a vision that contradicts the Prime Minister’s desires.

International observers have had a wide range of perspectives on the issue, with many analysts judging the country’s historic election, which will have ramifications around the world, as a sign of exhaustion and frustration with democracy in an information age that is saturated with political news of all ideologies and biases. With the vote to impeach President Trump being held today in the United States House of Representatives, one thing is for certain: the moment we are currently living in is a consequential and pivotal one in the history of global democracy, which faces unprecedented threats from multiple fronts.

Draq Queen

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Renewed For A Second Season

After the extensive success enjoyed by RuPaul’s Drag Race in the US including 11 standard seasons, 4 All-Stars seasons and multiple award wins, the show made its long awaited debut in the UK in October 2019 and it has now been renewed for a second season after a positive reception from fans across the world. 

Drag culture is not something new to the UK. Dame Edna Everage featured on UK stage and television from as early as the 1970s and Lily Savage was the popular host of entertainment show ‘Blankety Blank’ from 1997-2002 alongside a diverse club scene with a wide array of queens, cis-gendered queens and drag kings of all ages.

The calls of UK drag race fans were finally answered in December 2018 when it was announced that the show would be making its debut in 2019 on BBC Three with RuPaul at the helm in his usual roles of host and judge. However, whilst excitement was rife at this announcement it was not without fears as to whether the casting would “exclude underrepresented voices in the community.”. He cities, for example, Victoria Sin as an assigned-female-at-birth non-binary artist. 

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It was later announced that Michelle Visage would be accompanying him alongside well-known British comedian Alan Carr and Irish television presenter Graham Norton who would alternate each week. A whole host of celebrity guest judges were also confirmed as appearing over the season including Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams, Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall and the Spice Girls’ Geri Horner. With the ever-growing popularity of the original US show, fans and critics certainly had high expectations of the UK counterpart. 

The first cast features 10 queens; Baga Chipz, Blu Hydrangea, Divina De Campo, Crystal, Sum Ting Wong, Cheryl Hole, Gothy Kendoll, Vinegar Strokes, Scaredy Kat and The Vivienne; who represent a variety of styles however the casting was met with criticism as 8 out of the 10 contestants were white, however, the competitions did defend casting choices arguing the cast as chosen on merit. 

Instead of competing for a prize of $100,000 dollars and a year’s supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics, the UK queens are competing for a starring role in a new digital series as the BBC is publicly funded and does not allow sponsorship or adverts. 

Challenges to date have included some of the favorites of the US competition including Snatch Game and the ‘reading is fundamental’ mini-challenge with other challenges including creating couture garments from ‘car boot sale’ items and acting in a ‘Downton Draggy’ mini-challenge as we see the show being tailored to cater for the British audience. Further added ‘British’ elements include the ‘RuPeter Badge’ awarded to the main challenge winner each week and the  

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So far The Vivienne and Baga Chipz are emerging as front runners however this can quickly change and an underdog can come through to win. As we enter the closing stages of this first season, how has it been received thus far? 

A recurring criticism of the drag race franchise is that the ever increasing amount of seasons without any breaks is causing the format to tire however Rebecca Nicholson for The Guardian remarked that For those of us who have stuck with Drag Race for the last decade, this new incarnation could be the shake-up that was needed.” and that after the first episode she believed it “promises to be a very British Drag Race after all” after many of the jokes made in the first episode alluded to UK based celebrities or included UK slang. A similar sentiment was shared by Season 6 Drag Race Alumni Courtney Act who tweetedI think the show has gotten back to its roots” 

The show was also well received by other US Drag Race alumni including Phi Phi O’Hara who tweeted “RPDR UK and DR Thailand are better than US….yup I said it lol” and Shea Coulee who tweeted “@dragraceukbbc was SOOOO AMAZING! Loved @IsSumTingWong ‘s Queen Elizabeth look SLAYYYYYYED!!!!”

The final episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is set to air on BBC at the end of November 2019 with the UK season expected to return at some point in 2020 however next year drag race fans will also be able to get their fix from the first celebrity drag race which was recently announced to also be aired in 2020 featuring many drag race alumni including Alyssa Edwards, Kim Chi, Trinity the Tuck and Trixie Mattel.