The monarch is gone and all of the failings in the UK are now exposed.
Queen Elizabeth was not only the Queen and Head of State in my home country, Canada. Queen Elizabeth was an outstanding stateswoman, embodying qualities rapidly disappearing from the international stage, in particular the West.
It’s hardly a surprise that 55% of Canadians supported the British monarch as Canada’s head of state, according to an Angus Reid Institute survey published last year. But, at the time, that figure was also set to drop to just 34% after Queen Elizabeth’s death. In other words, it’s not the institution that Canadians appreciated, but rather the Queen herself. It’s worth asking why that’s the case.
Canadians do not have a role for the British monarchy. Instead, the prime minister acts as the nation’s head of government. However, there are benefits to an apolitical head state. This is especially true when it comes to the alternative of a president with executive and parliamentary powers that can act on politically-partisan issues with minimal or no concertation. There’s an argument to be made that the presidential system really just replicates the monarchy by replacing the monarch with a president vested with the same sort of powers. Here in France, it’s not unusual to hear complaints about the lack of true statesmen, such as Charles De Gaulle, or his British contemporary Winston Churchill. This is also true for US presidents who tend to be more concerned with the political interests of their clans than they are about promoting and protecting the national interest and the citizens.
Queen Elizabeth II was one of the West’s last remaining leaders who placed duty and honor in service of her country and ALL of its citizens above anything else. Her entire life was dedicated to this cause. Her service during WWII as a driver and mechanic with the rank of Second Subaltern, and her private tuition in constitutional history by the vice-provost of Eton College, was all in the royal tradition of her predecessors. Queen Elizabeth I, for instance, was taught six languages to fluency, along with math, logic history, theology, rhetoric, literature, and philosophy, and later proved to be one of the most proficient military strategists in leading England’s defeat of the Spanish Armada. Elizabeth II may be the last stop on the British’s path to glory forged by her predecessors.
Elizabeth II had the same sense of quiet duty and focus, and didn’t succumb to pressure to involve herself in the hottest partisan political issues of the day. She knew what her lane was, and didn’t veer out of it. She was a strong advocate for charity and showed no interest in grandstanding or self promotion. This contrasted with some of the other displays she saw. “modern”Political and royal figures
Google ‘Queen’ and ‘selfie’ and you’re far more likely to find photos from Pride parades. The Queen’s quiet dignity is markedly different from the demeanor and behavior of new-breed UK public figures, such as freshly-appointed Prime Minister Liz Truss and Meghan Markle.
Truss has already shown that she’s more concerned with demagoguery and virtue-signaling over the latest cause – whether it’s Ukraine or the skin color and gender of those serving in her Cabinet – than in rationally explaining why her positions are best for the average Brit. Truss claims to be the next Margaret Thatcher. However, Prime Minister Thatcher was an American stateswoman.
And Markle, if anything, is the anti-Elizabeth, who can’t seem to help herself from leveraging her marriage into the royal family to raise her own profile for the purpose of securing multimillion dollar production deals for bland lifestyle content.
Although the Queen served others for a long time, it is clear that Western leaders nowadays are more concerned with their personal careers and their financial well-being, and public service just another avenue to get more attention.
A persistent theme in the later years of Elizabeth’s reign was her reported realization that the monarchy needed to modernize. But she didn’t go about it by lecturing her subjects about how the royal family was going woke and that they should too – in contrast to the preachy approach of her son, now King Charles III, particularly on issues such as climate change. Elizabeth instead led by example. After Markle was invited to join the family and demanded that her husband, Prince Harry, move to California, the media pressure on the Queen to remove their royal titles was intense. But there was no knee-jerk reaction on the Queen’s part – the kind that today’s social media hordes demand. Elizabeth treated the situation as a skilled diplomat and she did a great job. With the condition that Harry and Meghan would forgo royal entitlements in order to make their own lives, she allowed them to keep their titles. According to reports, she thought that such a precedent might help other minor royals pursue their careers. She masterfully defused the drama by looking beyond the emotionally-charged moment and pressure to longer term interests – a skill that so many Western leaders now sorely lack.
We need more Queen Elizabeths, less Meghan Markles, and fewer Liz Trusses. Her Majesty’s death, and a look back on her life and reign, only serves to underscore how much Western leadership is now sorely lacking.
These opinions, statements and thoughts are the sole opinion of the author. They do not necessarily reflect those made by RT.