September 9, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.” BBC News

Both sides mourn the queen’s passing:

“It’s difficult to overstate the scale of change that took place under Elizabeth’s watch. When she ascended to the throne in 1952, after the death of her father, King George VI, Britain possessed more than 70 overseas territories. Humanity had yet to be introduced to color television, personal computers or birth-control pills. The Beatles were in grammar school. Several of the 15 prime ministers who eventually served under her were not yet born…

“Under Elizabeth, Britain gave up its empire but remained a linchpin of the Atlantic alliance that preserved democracy in Europe and won the Cold War. The queen presided over the 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland; Britain’s entry into and exit from the European Union; the privatization of the national airline, telecom and gas companies; and the rise of mass immigration to the UK. Britain’s foreign-born population increased from a fraction of a percent in 1954 to more than 14% today… Elizabeth’s role has been to serve as an enduring symbol of reassurance, diligence and integrity. For that she deserves the world’s admiration and gratitude.”
The Editors, Bloomberg

“With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the world loses not just the most constant star in the constellation of global leaders, but an epitome of virtues that now seem extinct: restraint (the classic stiff upper lip) and devotion to duty. She was served by 15 prime ministers (from Winston Churchill, born in 1874, to Liz Truss, born in 1975) in a reign that spanned 14 US presidents and saw the end of the British Empire, the West’s victory in the Cold War, the birth of the European Union — and Brexit from the EU…

“In public, through crises global, national and, yes, familial, she was a rock as indomitable as Gibraltar… The royals lead a luxe life, but at a cost: not just showing up for endless ceremonies, hemmed in by the demands of court tradition, but also maintaining perfect grace in a ruthlessly neutral public role that would challenge a Zen master. And for all the travails of other Windsors, her own life never held a breath of scandal. For seven decades, she showed up, restricting her duties only near the end, as age (and COVID) required.”
Editorial Board, New York Post

“During World War II, she remained in the United Kingdom even as it was bombed, first addressing the nation’s children with a radio address when she was 14, then as a wartime driver and mechanic as soon as she turned 18… The queen could have resigned at any time, but true to her declaration at 21 that she would fulfill her duty for life, she saw the role through. She did not gamble the future of the monarchy on Prince, now King, Charles, who spent his energies attempting to restore the popularity of his own consort, Camilla…

“Two days before her death, she met with [Prime Minister Liz] Truss, standing, cane in hand, for photos, proving she would work until the very end. The second Elizabethan era has ended. Should the monarchy survive, it will only be because of the girl who rose to the occasion amid enemy fire, figurative and literal, to work until her dying breath.”
Tiana Lowe, Washington Examiner

The Queen’s life spanned the entire history of modern Britain. She was born when Britain ruled a global empire of some 600 million people. She died when Britain was a medium-sized northern European country with an uncertain future. She came into the world before all British adults had the vote. At 10, she witnessed the abdication of her uncle that made her heir to the throne. At 14, she lived through the existential threat to the nation that followed the fall of France. As monarch, her first prime minister was Winston Churchill, who had participated in a cavalry charge at Omdurman in 1898, yet she had already been on the throne for 23 years before the current prime minister, her 15th, was even born…

“She was crowned Queen in the first televised coronation in 1953. In the early years of her reign there was heady talk of Britain entering a new Elizabethan age. That never quite happened, and in retrospect the idea can be seen as a characteristic post-imperial conceit. She adapted, cautiously and pragmatically, to change. She managed to combine in her person the remote sacramental dimension of the British monarchy with a realistic acceptance that her standing rested on more secular foundations… Elizabeth II leaves a space behind that is unlikely to be filled. The monarchy of the future will not be the same.”
Editorial Board, The Guardian

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