End of an era: On Queen Elizabeth II
The Hindu (11 September 2022) – The passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest serving monarch who reigned for over 70 years, marks the end of an era for British monarchy. Her tenure as Head of State began during the early post-War years and witnessed a paradigm-changing shift in the balance of political power from the British empire to the Commonwealth, and the emergence of free, post-colonial nations. During her time on the throne the Cold War came to an end and so too did the U.K.’s 47-year experiment as a member of the European Union. No fewer than 15 U.K. Prime Ministers came and went while she reigned, from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss. Her rule was not without controversy. On the personal front she suffered an “ annus horribilis” in 1992, when the marriages of three of her children broke down and Windsor Castle was damaged by fire. In the aftermath of the death of King Charles’ former wife, Diana, in a car accident in Paris in 1997, criticism was levelled at the monarchy for shying away from public response. Despite these occasional setbacks, Queen Elizabeth has consistently enjoyed a high favourability rating among the British public, 75% according to a recent poll. Observers attribute this to her stubborn silence on political issues, a “closed book” approach that allowed subjects, critics, and outsiders to project onto her and the royal family, whatever they wished to.