16/06/2012 07:51 BST

Queen's Birthday Honours List: Is The Empire Really Relevant?

As the Queen's Birthday Honours List is set to be revealed, it's that time of year to dust down the history books and the well-worn arguments as to whether the British Empire is really something to be celebrating.

Once one of the most expansive empires in the history of mankind, the British Empire suffered a rapid decline in the 20th Century, with dozens of countries and territories earning independence.

It may sound grand calling Sir Kenneth Branagh a Knight of the British Empire, but does it mean anything when the most notable territory still controlled by Britain is a small portion of the Antarctic?

Tell us what you think, and in the mean time, click through the slideshow below to see how the Empire fell from the end of the Second World War through India's independence, through to the Hong Kong of 1997.