England is a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (which includes England, Scotland, and Wales) and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and Commonwealth realm which means that it has a sovereign monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, who is head of state of many of the Commonwealth countries.
With a parliamentary government, the UK has two houses: a House of Commons that is elected and a House of Lords that is appointed. Bills require Royal Assent to be passed into law. The UK also has a Prime Minister who acts as head of government. The Prime Minister is a Member of Parliament chosen by the House of Commons. The Prime Minister chooses his cabinet, but it is the sovereign monarch who officially approves and appoints the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
The United Kingdom has one of the world’s biggest economies. It is a mixed economy (both public and private) which has been reducing public ownership over the last two decades. While it was the first to industrialize in the 18th century, the United Kingdom’s economy has shifted more towards the service sector over the years, particularly insurance, tourism, business services, and banking.
The UK also has significant oil, gas, and coal reserves, but they are steadily declining. The economy of the United Kingdom is very globalized and in 2009 had a GDP per capita of $35,200. Its capital city, London is considered the world’s largest financial center.