ago already 70 years Elizabeth II began her reign unexpectedly. His dad’s death, George VI, after a long illness and the prior abdication of his uncle Edward VIII for love of the divorcee Wallis Simpson, they made it possible in 1952 and with barely 25 years had to assume the role of queen of England. Specifically, it was on February 6 when then Prime Minister Winston Churchill sang the well-known ‘God save the Queen’.
Charles Powell, historian and director of the Elcano Royal Institute, highlights the “exceptional” of her reign, taking into account “that she was not born to be queen” and, therefore, had not been prepared for it. A mandate that has become the most longevity of Europe and that not only meant a change for the life of the young Lilibeth, but for an entire nation that left behind an imperialist era.
The reign of change
If the experts of the reign of Isabel II stand out for something, it is the innumerable advances that have occurred since she began to reign until now, having governed in what was perhaps the most prolific and advanced period in all of history.
On the one hand, the United Kingdom won World War II, but lost all its assets along the way. colonies in a confrontation that, as Churchill had already predicted, cost “blood, sweat and tears” to the country. Then, Isabel II had to take a socially devastated population by the hand and that had suffered a strong economic blow and redirect it towards the stability that it has managed to maintain to this day.
In the midst of these circumstances and once the mourning after the death of his father had passed, he made the decision to broadcast his coronation on television. Something that, as indicated by the journalist and writer Tom Burns Maranon, “His advisers did not like it”, for whom the monarchy had to maintain a halo of “mystery” that would be broken when placed under the spotlight.
However, against all odds, this decision made the population consider her a queen. closest and human than their predecessors had been. And to this day she is by far the most popular monarch in the world. Songs, series, movies or documentaries have been inspired by the figure of Elizabeth II, who has become the queen who made a cameo with james-bond for the London Olympics and was represented by Matt Groening in The Simpson. In this way, his popularity has not stopped growing in these 70 years, despite the multiple scandals caused by his family.
Scandals during these 70 years
Elizabeth II cataloged the year 1992 as a “Annus horribilis” after three of his children announced their respective separations or divorces and Windsor Palace burned in a fire that threatened to cost the British population millions of pounds. The fact that one of the richest women on the planet was not going to pay for the incident placed her in the spotlight of society. However, the recognition of the payment and the transparency that has preceded the Royal Family since then, made the fire remain only in the memory of some Britons.
What Elizabeth II did not know then was that the strongest blow had not yet come. Marriage and subsequent divorce Diana of Wales with the Prince carlos It was from the first moment the international talk, something that increased after she gave an interview for the BBC in 1995 uncovering all the intimacies of their relationship and the British Royal Family. Years later, his death in a traffic accident and the immediate silence on the part of the Queen of England put all eyes on the Royal House again. But, as Tom Burns explains, a few words from Elizabeth II on camera and a walk next to the tribute created by British citizens made the population forget what they had considered until then an insult to the “princess of the people”.
Also today and in this recent 2022 has had to face multiple scandals, the most recent being the accusation of his son Andrés of child abuse and for which he has been stripped of all titles and honors. “She always puts her responsibility as a monarch first,” says Powell. “Though, his family is probably really his weakest flank,” he adds.
The show must go on
There is no denying that a particularly significant factor in this queen is her ability to keep going no matter what the odds. ‘The show must go on’, what the English would say, is the motto that seems to have moved Elizabeth II since her youth. In these years he has met 14 Prime ministers, breaking with the idea that only the Conservative Party was going to be able to protect the crown, since it has outlived four Labor Party members. And it is only known that he has had problems with one, specifically with a woman: Margaret Thatcher. The desire to protect the Commonwealth by which the Queen has always moved was the reason for breaking up with the Prime Minister, as a result of the latter’s support for the apartheid from South Africa. And it is that, despite being seen as a minor institution for most British people, Elizabeth II has always considered the Community of Nations an element to defend.
In addition, in these years the queen has guided England from its imperialist past to become a country that, although it has not lost its relevance, wields infinitely less power than then. And, as Marañón points out, “it has helped the British people to digest a transition that still continues today with the Brexit”.