Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, RIP.
There are approximately 7.9 billion people on earth. Less than 10 percent are over 70, so more than 7 billion people living today have known only one British monarch. The queen ascended the throne before I was born.
I’m fascinated less by the queen’s passing than by the various reactions. Mark Evanier has decided, “The Internet Era has created people who were famous for being famous… And in these times, that’s all ‘royalty’ is.” Huh. I understand anti-royalist vitriol or adoration of QEII, but I was not expecting her to be cast as Zelig.
When Elizabeth became the queen, the British Empire contained 70 overseas territories with hundreds of millions of people. But the number of territories shrank by 80% during her lengthy tenure. That she could keep most of them within the Commonwealth is no small feat. President Biden ordered all United States flags to half-staff on September 8, 2022, through her interment circa September 19 in her memory.
Elizabeth would likely never have become queen if not for the abdication by her uncle Edward VIII in 1936. This made her father, George VI, king until his untimely passing in 1952. So it’s a bit of luck that she became the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
The announcement of her death came just two days after the queen was photographed while appointing new Prime Minister Liz Truss at the Scottish estate. Truss is the 15th prime minister the queen had sworn in, with her first being Winston Churchill.
I’m impressed with how quickly information was updated on Wikipedia. Vanity Fair had a nice obituary. Here is some queenly trivia.
The Hollywood Reporter shared 15 Stars Who’ve Played the British Monarch. Incidentally, The Crown paused filming after QE II’s death.
The AmeriNZ take
Arthur is an American-born blogger living in New Zealand for more than a quarter-century. What he wrote on Facebook reflects my thoughts quite well.
“I’m personally saddened by the death of Queen Elizabeth, even though I’m a firm republican (lower case “r”). She devoted her life to public service, and I admire her for that… For most of us, she is, at the very least, a link to a constancy within our own lives: She was always there. Presidents and prime ministers come and go, but the Queen was constant.
“As we get older, we all lose the links, the anchor points, that have kept us, for lack of a better word, moored in our own lives. But everything and everyone ends, and so, too, do those moorings… While I may not be a fan of monarchies, I can nevertheless admire the Queen for a job well done. London Bridge is down. Farewell.”
Feeling for Charles
The new king, Charles III, will never be as popular as his mother. This is partly tied to his messy divorce from the popular Diana, followed by her tragic death 25 years ago. Nor is he as well-liked as his heir apparent, his and Diana’s son William. Some folks, before Elizabeth’s death, expected that Charles would abdicate in favor of William. This would make little sense, as William’s successor, George, is currently nine years old.
I was puzzled when someone I know, in response to the posting of the statement above, posted on Twitter, “It’s hard not to see this as a flex.” First, I had to look up the definition of flex in this context. “To talk in a boastful or aggressive way” or “to make an ostentatious display of something: SHOW OFF.” I do not agree AT ALL.
King Charles III vowed lifelong service in his first address. But it is inevitable that the monarchy as we know it will shrink. The Skimm noted: “The royals remain a symbol and a living embodiment of Britain’s past, which includes centuries of planning and profiting from colonialism and slavery — which they’ve never formally apologized for.
“Meanwhile, the newly proclaimed King Charles III has said he plans to scale back on the pomp and circumstance. This means fewer working royals, reducing the taxpayer money needed to support them. But in the 21st century, it may become more difficult to justify the public footing any bill. Especially as the UK faces its most serious economic threats in a generation… And as scandals (think: Prince Andrew) continue to tarnish the royal family.”
God save the 73- year-old King.