Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other realms and territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith has died.
It’s been a few days and I’m still letting that sink in. It’s an odd emotion. Someone I didn’t know, never met, and who never had any direct impact or influence on my life is gone, and yet the hole they have left is cast. She has stood (or sat) at the centre of every photo of world leaders for the last 70 years. Her face has adorned the currency of 33 countries. Everyone in the world knew who she was.
At her death, the world should pause, and take a moment to mourn. As trite and overused as the phrase is, the death of Queen Elizabeth II is the end of an Era.
She was the last vestige of the British Empire, and she saw the World, the Country and the Monarchy into the modern era. For 70 years she conducted herself with unimpeachable honour. The only time she ventured even close to scandal, it was not through action, or selfish intent, but through a lack of awareness of the changing times; a conflict between the old and the new. She was the embodiment of Duty.
Will anything really change? We now have King Charles III. I don’t expect he will make any changes, as he’s already promised the existing rules. Currency, stamps, etc will be changed when they are next due for a redesign. It may be a long time before we get a clean rendition of the national anthem; everyone will stumble on the first line “God save our gracious Que… King.” We’ll all get used to gender-neutral pronouns when discussing the Monarchy.
Queen Elizabeth had Dignity, Grace, Gravitas, all the regal virtues, but also showed warmth and empathy to her subjects. Her address to the public at the beginning of the Pandemic brought more comfort and sense of unity to the people than any statement from the Prime Minister. The fact that the PM partied while the Queen sat alone at her Husband’s funeral showed she understood the pain of the ordinary citizen far more than our elected leaders.
There’s a practicality to having the Head of State and the leader of the government be different people. We have one for Show, for ceremonies, and the other there to do the work, run the country. Sadly, our last Prime Minister had no interest in doing the work and was eventually turfed out by his own party for his freeloading.
Queen Elizabeth’s last official act as Head of State was to appoint Liz Truss as Prime Minister, in accordance with the vote of the governing Conservative party.
I wonder if she looked at Liz Truss and thought “If this is the best they can do, I’m out.”
Where the late Queen had a sense of the nation as a whole, Liz Truss has none. For her, your worth is based on your net worth. She is in power to serve the people above a certain income, to benefit her former masters at the energy companies, and everyone else can go hang. Her solution to rising energy prices is a cap that is still more than twice what the average household was previously paying, a national insurance cut that will give twice as much to the rich than it does to the poor, while depriving an already cash-starved NHS of much needed funds. No matter, the people this Liz serves can afford to go private.
Ironic that the Hereditary Monarch, the absolute pinnacle of the 1% by Divine Right, had more empathy for the common man than our current elected (or in this case, Selected) leader.
I definitely feel we’re getting a diminishing return on Liz’s.