Why the queen who lost the British Empire is still revered -- Elizabeth II lucky she’s not locked in the Tower of London


Queen Elizabeth II celebrating her Jubilee
If the Queen of England were an elected position, Elizabeth II  would have been forced out long ago,
Her sixty-year reign has coincided with the total loss of the British Empire and a deeply reduced place for Britain in the world.

Just consider 1953, the year she came to the throne.

It was still the aftermath of the Second World War and Britain was first among all countries in Europe.

The detested Germans were defeated and partitioned and their economy and country seemingly in ruins.

Fast forward 60 years and the Germans are running Europe again and Britain is back to being sick man of Europe along with Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Ireland of course.

They hardly have a voice in European affairs which are now basically overseen by France and Germany.

Back in 1953 the new Queen oversaw an empire that governed vast tracts of land in Africa, Asia, Europe and elsewhere on the globe.

During her reign the British were reduced to fighting Argentina over an utterly nondescript island called Malvinas/Falklands and playing second fiddle to American forces just about everywhere.

The decline and fall of the British Empire under Elizabeth in another era would have resulted in a trial and the Tower of London for a goodly spell methinks.

Indeed, like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, there would have been cries of “Off with her head.”

(Many of her predecessors were topped for far less. See Anne Boleyn etc.)

Instead, she is becoming more beloved as she gets older; the sheer longevity of the woman and her ability to carry out her duties at the age of 86 is impressive even to the most avid Republican.

But she must wake up and wonder sometimes where it all went wrong, She came into office as a hugely significant figure on the world stage, with giants like Churchill in her government.

Now it’s the nondescript David Cameron she meets and now the monarchy may even lose Australia and Canada at some point in the near future – not to mention Northern Ireland given the shifting demographics there.

She has become a symbolic figure, which she always was to some extent, but she no longer wields true power.

Unlike the fall of the Roman Empire, it was not the Barbarians at the gate, rather it was the enemy within, as the British simply lost out to Germany in Europe and the US in the world in terms of the scope of their power and influence in the post industrial revolution age.

Rule Britannia, indeed, but nowadays only on a small sliver of the earth, unlike when Elizabeth came to reign in 1953.

Royalty’s new reality was summed up wonderfully by  the Guardian editorial writer describing the celebration on The Thames on Sunday as a flotilla of ships and boats honored the Queen;
“Sunday was a day for dressing up. But it was hard to watch the royal men in their sometimes preposterously over decorated uniforms — lord high admirals of ever-declining fleets, commanders of air forces whose future effectiveness hangs in the balance, fighters of wars about which middle Britain has deeply mixed feelings — and take any of it too seriously.”



Log in with your social accounts:

Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:

Forgot your password ?

Don't have an account yet? Register now !

Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:

Already have an account ?

For Newsletter Subscribers – Draw for 1 Prize on December 31st.

Prize: Your Piece of Ireland – a Square of Land in the heart of the Glens of Antrim, Ireland

More details here (or you can buy a little piece of Ireland directly): http://bit.ly/1zew9ox

Terms & Conditions

Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Make sure we gathered the correct information from you

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.

Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: