Why Does Britain Still Have a Monarchy? Queen Elizabeth II


These days, discussion of whether or not the British monarchy is out of date or dangerous isn’t precisely shocking. In actual fact, the aim of the monarchy has been a standard query for many years—TIME addressed that matter in a cover story in 1992, the 12 months Queen Elizabeth II dubbed an “annus horribilis”—and was even so when the Queen, who died Thursday, Sep. 8 at age 96, got here to the throne after her father’s loss of life in 1952.

(The Queen had been scaling again her public duties in the previous few years as a result of declining well being, although she met with new Prime Minister Liz Truss, her fifteenth U.Okay. chief, simply two days earlier than her loss of life.)

The Queen on the June 29, 1959, cowl of TIME


However, as TIME famous then, Queen Elizabeth II answered the query simply. Celebrating her ascension, the journal noted that respect for the crown sure the varied Commonwealth nations collectively:

Quickly after, when she was named TIME’s Woman of the Year, that reasoning was expanded upon. That 12 months, army males who divided the Earth alongside political and ideological boundaries dominated the world. Amongst them, Queen Elizabeth stood because the illustration of unity.

And never, TIME famous, as a result of she was queen. Loads of royals from loads of nations had didn’t convey their individuals collectively. Her throne was “lengthy since shorn of its final vestige of political energy.” Her energy was not the work of custom alone. Her significance depended not merely upon her job, but in addition on who she was, ”a contemporary younger blossom on roots that had weathered many a season of wintry doubt”:

All through her reign, she continued to mix private charisma {and professional} distance to be sure that the monarchy remained, if nothing else, one thing that had purpose to exist. For instance, amid “indicators of creeping apathy towards the crown,” per TIME, she undertook an try to look extra accessible. However, regardless that that accessibility by no means really translated to informality, it labored.

In 2007, TIME included her on its annual record of essentially the most influential individuals on this planet, for being purpose sufficient to dismiss any chatter in regards to the monarchy coming to an finish.

Which ought to have been no shock. In any case, when she had been solely a woman, as Princess Lilibet, she started the years of grooming that might make her a girl worthy of the throne—and conscious of what that responsibility would require.

“You aren’t a fairy-tale princess,” TIME reported in 1944 her mom reminding her, “however an actual one.”

Extra Should-Learn Tales From TIME

Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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