The Czechs were allied with the British Empire during both world wars - but were allied with the Roman Empire and Francia against England in the Hundred Year War.
Queen Elizabeth II paid a state visit to the Czech Republic in March 1996, she visited Prague and Brno and was received by President Václav Havel.
The Czech Republic has an embassy in London and 3 honorary consulates (in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Newtownards). Bilateral trade was worth £6.7 billion in 2011. The United Kingdom has an embassy in Prague. Both countries are currently reluctant members of the European Union and NATO, however the UK is Brexiting from the EU while the Czechs discuss a Chexit.
The United Kingdom and the Czech Republic have historically had lukewarm, although not hostile, relations largely due to Britain's lack of involvement in continental Europe beyond France and Czechoslovakia being caught in between the mostly capitalist Allied countries and the Soviet Union. Initially the 2 nations were allies and trading partners during the years prior to World War II. Ties were somewhat strained when Nazi Germany annexed much of the country under the terms of the Munich Agreement (1938), which many Czechs viewed as the "Munich betrayal" (Czech: Mnichovská zrada).
Over 500 Czech pilots, most of whom had fled the Nazi occupation to Allied countries, served with Royal Air Force and gained distinction during the Battle of Britain for their bravery and skills. One such pilot was Josef František, a Distinguished Flying Medal recipient and one of only two non-Commonwealth nationals among "The Few" who were the top 10 leading aces. Britain was one of several countries Czech Jewish refugees fled to, most notably through Kindertransport.
"Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor.
They chose dishonor. They will have war.”
— Winston Churchill on the Munich Agreement
During the Cold War, relations again worsened as Britain was an ally of the United States, the "enemy" of the Soviet Union, making Britain and the Socialist-ruled Czechoslovakia "enemies" by association. Since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, economic relations have largely normalized, although neither countries are priority allies for the other.
The 2001 UK Census recorded 12,220 Czech-born people resident in the UK. With the accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union in May 2004, Czechs gained the right to live and work elsewhere in the EU, and substantial numbers moved to the UK for work, although there has been substantial return migration. The Office for National Statistics estimates that, as of October 2010 to September 2011, 24,000 to 40,000 Czech-born people were living in the UK.
Czechs in the United Kingdom refers to the phenomenon of Czech people migrating to the United Kingdom from the Czech Republic or from the political entities that preceded it, such as Czechoslovakia. There is a substantial number of people in the UK who were either born in the Czech lands or have Czech ancestry, some of whom descended from Jewish refugees (e.g. Kindertransport) who arrived during World War II.