24.1 The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated in the British Isles, to the north-west of continental Europe. The UK is a constitutional monarchy whose head of State is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The organs of government comprise the legislature (Parliament), the executive (Her Majesty’s Government) and the judiciary, which is independent of both the legislature and the executive. The UK has been a member of the European Union since 1972 and in 2016 voted by referendum to leave. The legal tender is the pound sterling (£ or GBP).