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“Grief is the price we pay for love,”-Queen Elizabeth II
After 70 years reigning over our country, Queen Elizabeth II passed away on September 8th, 2022 at Balmoral Castle amongst her closest family. Not only did our nation mourn her death through millions of tributes, but so did the world ; she had become a vital figure in world diplomacy over her reign, visiting over 100 countries to greet both the people and those in power. Her unique ability to show care and consideration to all those she saw was the foundation of her rule.
“When life seems hard the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat, instead they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future,”Queen Elizabeth II
Throughout our rapid political and technological advancement, the Queen has always been a point of stability firmly rooted in our nation’s history. During her reign, her steadfast dedication to both her country, her faith and her family became an increasingly rare trait in our country’s leaders. Almost all of our recent prime ministers have wound up in scandals by serving their own desires above those of our country: Boris Johnson and the Partygate scandal and David Cameron and Greenshill capital to name a few.
In the UK, politics has been a very masculine domain for the most part of the Queen’s reign; out of the 15 prime ministers she met, only 3 were women. Arguably, the Queen therefore was an even more essential part of our national dichotomy as she became an inspiration to women all over the country, who were told they “could not” simply because they were a woman.
The Queen brought a far more personal touch to the monarchy, and thawed its previous reputation as separate from the people. During the war, she and her sister broadcast on radio to many children across the UK, and during the pandemic she again gave us words of wisdom during our strife. Although, the average person experienced these crises in a very different way to the Queen, the collective experiences she shared with us deepened the bond between the public and the crown. In 1970, on her tour of New Zealand and Australia, she broke royal protocol to do the first “royal walkabout”, where she stepped out of her car and individually met members of the public; greeting them and giving them her time just as she had done with so many heads of state and politicians. It was on this tour that she established as a monarch she did not just care about overarching traditions and institutions, but the individual people themselves.
The monarchy has a long road ahead before it can become a positive force for many, its history of colonialism and recent financial scandals have marred the institution. It is of course important to note that the legacy left by the Queen is complex for many, but we would like to remember the Queen as not merely the “head of an institution” but as a woman who steadfastly rode out the waves of changing times without complaint, serving her country as she had vowed to do 70 years ago. When the Queen was born, 96 years ago she was not the heir to the throne and nobody could have predicted the length and strength of her future time as Queen; although she made her vow in her “salad days” she kept it until her last breath.
Additional Reading, discussing both the positive and negative legacy of the late Queen: