It turns out that Meghan Markle was right about the Home Office’s citizenship test

Megan Markle

Both the Duke and Duchess of Essex are said to have struggled with questions on the Life in the UK test (Image: Wire Image)

The Life in the UK test might look like your average pub quiz – but instead of a bottle of wine, you get citizenship if you pass it.

“Who built the Tower of London?” or “What did the Chartists fight for?” These are just some of the sample questions that applicants need to know the answers to, although according to Meghan Markle even Prince Harry had problems with them.

Nearly 200,000 immigrants took the test in 2022 as part of their applications for citizenship or settlement.

According to the Home Office from, more than a third of them failed to achieve the minimum score of 75%.

The test is designed to prove applicants have a “reasonable knowledge” of British life, but those who took it described the questions asked as “irrelevant” and “outdated”.

Hassan Akkad, a BAFTA and Emmy-winning director and producer behind the Netflix film The Swimmers, arrived in 2015 as a refugee from Syria.

After completing the test a year ago, he told us that most of the questions do not demonstrate the level of integration into everyday British life.

Metro Graphic about life in the UK citizenship test

This year alone almost one in three have failed the test (Image:

“I’m all for testing people who want to live in the UK,” he said.

“The language test is essential – anyone seeking citizenship should be able to speak English. Otherwise they will have no voice in this society.

“But the Life in the UK test should test things from everyday life, like how to file taxes, or how to register to vote, or how to register your car.

“I’m not particularly keen on the historical questions and wonder how many wives Henry VIII had.

“How will that prove the level of integration into everyday British life?”

The test itself costs £50 and cannot be taken in person, so all applicants must also pay for transport to one of the 30 centers across the country.

Hasan Akkad

Hassan Akkad is a BAFTA and Emmy-winning director who passed the test a year ago

Like most people preparing for this, Hassan spent £7.99 on the government’s official book of sample questions and £10.99 on the app.

“Have I learned anything useful? no Literally nothing. Do I think the government is making a lot of money from this? Yes,” he said.

Frustrated with the naturalization process, Hassan asked 1,717 Brits to complete an example and he says only 15 actually passed.

It seems that the test is so difficult that even Prince Harry, who is fifth in the line of succession, struggles to help his wife study.

Given that he’s a member of the royal family and a graduate of Eton College, it’s hard to imagine that he didn’t pass all the answers with flying colors.

“This naturalization test is so difficult. I studied for it and I remember saying, “Oh my god,” Meghan recently said on her podcast.

Five life questions in the UK test

Most readers failed at the historical questions (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

“I would ask my husband, ‘Did you know that? Did you know that?” And he would say, “I had no idea.”

Similar to Hassan, we asked readers who are British and grew up in the country to answer questions from website

Only a third made it through and all struggled with questions such as ‘Who appoints mates?’, ‘When did the first Christian communities appear in Britain?’. and ‘Who founded the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland?’

dr Andi Hoxhaj, Lecturer in Law at University College London, obtained his British citizenship in 2015.

As someone whose work focuses on the rule of law, governance, civil society, EU engagement and European integration, he still studied for three weeks for the exam.

He recalled some of the questions that even “underlined the glorification of British colonialism”.

dr Andi Hoxhaj, Lecturer in Law at University College London, obtained his British citizenship in 2015.

dr Andi Hoxhaj, Lecturer in Law at University College London, obtained his British citizenship in 2015

“A lot of it was a bit old and pointless in terms of some of the historical references,” said the 34-year-old.

‘I remember one of them asking which king killed the most women. There were such strange questions. Some related to government structures were useful.’

Andi said the test would make better use of the focus on human rights and freedoms, which may be different in countries immigrants come from.

He said: “I felt the test should focus more on why the rule of law, fundamental values ​​and democratic principles matter and how they are upheld in the UK.

“Some citizens come from countries where these values ​​are severely undermined and one reason for coming to the UK and then choosing to become British citizens is to be able to live freely in an open and democratic society that respects and upholds these values.

“Therefore, the test was designed to test people, to make them more aware of how far the UK has come and to raise awareness of some of the challenges that have contributed to the push to embrace these fundamental human rights values. ‘

Since English is not his native language like most people seeking citizenship, he got some questions wrong because of the language.

Andi recalled that some words had double meanings, which sometimes “tricked” him.

“If you’re not a native English speaker, it’s possible to misinterpret them,” he said.

The Home Office confirmed plans to set the process for reviewing the Life in the UK handbook in the first half of 2023 after contacted them about the passability rate.

A spokesman said: “The Life in the UK test is important for anyone wishing to settle permanently in the UK to ensure they understand the democratic principles that underpin British society and aspects of our culture and traditions. “

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Justin Scacco

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