So I was dozing mildly in bed this morning, half listening to the BBC Radio 4 Today politics programme and Boris’ latest attempts to lie to Parliament/save his skin, when all of a sudden a full blown version of the National Anthem kicks in. ‘Oh Christ, she’s died’ I thought.
But no, it’s simply her Birthday. Happy 96th, Queen Elizabeth.
Yeah, very interesting, the British monarchy. The modern British monarchy can trace its roots back to Queen Victoria. Before then, the monarchy was never truly loved. Queen Victoria was popular, gave to charities, instituted democratic reforms, and thus changed all that.
When I was a little boy, I thought I was supposed to, as an American, hate the British monarchy. Now I know that isn’t true. I actually admire it, if only from afar . Queen Elizabeth II, like Victoria, is actually pretty openminded. I think she endorses limited gay rights. She may even support gay marriage, I think. In the United States we would call that enlightened conservativism. What can I say, I like her.
The only question most people have is, what will happen when Prince Charles becomes monarch .
The current British monarchy traces its roots back to Sophie of Hanover, and Queen Elizabeth traces descent from monarchs stretching back to pre-Norman England. I also wouldn’t overplay Victoria’s popularity - the country got very fed up with having a monarch in mourning for 40 years who was more interested in her male servants than her royal duties.
I had the same kind of shock when sometimes in 2016 I got into my car, the news were on the radio and suddenly they started playing “Blowin’ In The Wind”. I thought “Fuck, Bob Dylan has died”, when a few seconds later they announced his Nobel Prize for literature.
I feel this says a lot about the future of the monarchy. A lot of people seem to be moving towards a desire for a republican government. And that’s under a monarch who most people seem to feel is doing a good job.
Once Elizabeth passes away and the monarchal system isn’t propped up by her personal popularity, I feel it will collapse and be replaced. Charles will probably end up being the last monarch.
This morning DJs on one of the local country & western stations had an irate listener call in because the station hadn’t wished the Queen a happy birthday the previous morning. They were like, oh well.
I can certainly see most or all of the Commonwealth realms choosing to ditch the monarchy once she’s gone. Less sure about the UK though, our system has long adopted the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ model of government. I mean, NOBODY wants President Boris.