The era of Her Majesty, face of British monarchy, ends heretext_fields
On September 8 Her Britannic Majesty was called to her reward. The 96-year-old monarch died at her private residence in Balmoral, Scotland. Her eldest child, Prince Charles, instantly became King Charles III upon her death. He surprised many who had heard the rumour that he would use his middle name 'George' and reign as King George VII. His coronation will take place in the summer of 2023.
At 6:30 pm a BBC newsreader in a black suit announced that Her Majesty the Queen had died. A statement had been released by Buckingham Palace at 12:30 saying that the Queen was seriously ill and being kept under observation. She was cared for at her house and not in a hospital. Evidently, her life could not be preserved for long and perhaps she had no desire to prolong her earthly existence. At 2 pm the BBC interrupted its scheduled broadcasting. BBC newscasters wore black and spoke of the Queen's gravely deteriorating medical situation. Some thought it curious to don sable garb whilst the Queen was still alive. But was she?
The royal family flew to Balmoral on Thursday 8 September. It was their final chance to say farewell. Whether they made it is a moot point. The 6:30 pm statement declared that the Queen died 'this afternoon'. BBC journalist tweeted at 3 pm that the Queen had already died. This was then withdrawn.
Prince Harry happened to be in the UK when he was informed that his grandmother was at death's door. He hurried to Balmoral. Meghan Markle was told not to come.
London Bridge is the plan for the Queen's funeral. When she died the coded message was sent to the government and British ambassadors overseas, ''London Bridge is down.'' This was the worst-kept secret in the United Kingdom. News of the monarch's death was to be kept from the public for a few hours as arrangements were made. Various dignitaries needed black suits to don to make the announcement.
The Queen was said to have been suffering from bone cancer and ended treatment a few months ago. In the last few months of her life, she was unable to walk or stand for more than five minutes and used a wheelchair in private.
Just two days before her death the Queen accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson. She appointed Liz Truss as Prime Minister. The Queen seemed fairly hale for a woman of such advanced years. The Queen willed herself to live through her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022. She willed herself to live through the transfer of power from Johnson to Truss.
The death of the Queen was not unexpected. But it is hard to conceive of. She was a monarch for 70 years. Even the words 'King Charles III' and 'God save the King' strike one as wrong. Shouldn't it be 'Queen'?
Her Britannic Majesty was very popular. She was a model of decorum. She was the face of the United Kingdom. The Queen was the most instantly recognizable figure in the world.
Coverage should not be too hagiographic. Jenny Bond was the BBC's royal correspondent for years. The Queen knew who she was yet never acknowledged Miss Bond. The Queen was a bland character. Her fortune was at least GBP 350 million. The Queen visited scores of countries. She dined with many tyrants. She followed the 'advice' of her prime ministers. Her first was Churchill. They told her to curry favour with tyrants who were pro-British.
The Crown is above politics. The Queen strove to avoid opining on matters political. She was 99% successful. The Prime Minister has a weekly one-on-one meeting with the Queen. No one else is present and no notes are taken. PMs have said this is cathartic and also useful as she can give them guidance.
In 2014 Scotland held a referendum on leaving the UK. The Prime Minister advised her to tell people to 'think carefully'. This she did. The PM later said he had done so to nudge things towards the No camp. It worked.
The Queen was born in London in a house that was later destroyed by a bomb in the Second World War. Her father was the Duke of York (the second son of King George V). Her mother was from a Scots noble house. Elizabeth had a sister Margaret who was four years younger.
When Elizabeth was 10 her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated. Her father became King George VI despite having a severe speech impediment. Elizabeth thus became heir presumptive. Her parents decided not to have more children. Had a son been born then the boy would have been above Elizabeth in the line of succession. But Elizabeth had such exceptional dignity and judgement that she would make a superlative monarch.
Private tutors educated Prince Elizabeth. She spent the Second World War at Windsor Castle 20 miles west of London. Her parents said many teenage girls wrote to a young man during wartime. They arranged for her to correspond with her second cousin: Prince Philip of Greece. Philip was 6 years older than her and an officer in the Royal Navy. In 1944 she became an army truck driver.
On Victory in Europe day, she mingled with jubilant crowds. She also waved to the ecstatic masses from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
In 1947 Elizabeth wed Prince Philip. A year later their connubial union was blessed with the first of four children.
In 1952 Elizabeth and her husband were on a tour of Kenya when the king died. Queen Elizabeth flew back to assume her queenly duties. She was crowned in 1953. People spoke of a new Elizabethan Age.
The UK experienced a sharp decline under her. The British Empire was dissolved and the UK's economy sputtered. The Queen was a force for reassurance and continuity in dispiriting times.
The Queen was Head of the Commonwealth. Most Commonwealth countries became republics. But the Queen accepted this with good grace.
There were family travails. The Queen's sister divorced in the 1970s. Princess Margaret and her bisexual husband were scandal-struck.
1981 saw the wedding of Charles and Diana: the wedding of the century. But within a few years, it broke down in public acrimony. Princess Anne also got divorced when her husband sired a love child. Prince Andrew and his wife had widely publicized extramarital affairs.
When Princess Diana died in a car crash some said Prince Philip had masterminded it. The monarchy was not popular. But the Queen held her nerve. Gradually its standing improved again.
Meghan Markle rocked the boat an awful lot. She constantly whines to the media about how ill-used she was.
On her 21st birthday the Queen broadcast to the Commonwealth from South Africa, ''I declare that my whole life, be it long or short, shall be devoted to your service.'' As her health failed she repeatedly ruled out any thought of abdication. The monarchs of Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and the papacy have stepped aside in recent years. But the Queen would not do so. For 10 years she had delegated some of her duties to the Councillors of State: the next four in the line of succession. Her Majesty carried on serving her subjects until the very end. She is the second longest reigning monarch in world history.
The author is a political analyst from the UK. He can be watched on YouTube George from Ireland