News Comment: Queen Elizabeth II
Stephen Tomkins reflects on the end of the Elizabethen era
Queen Elizabeth II lived to celebrate the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne – and for the country to celebrate it, which it certainly did.
Nicholas Witchell, the BBC’s royal correspondent, on the evening of her death, on 8 September, described her loss as ‘disorientating’. That is strange, but true. There was no element of surprise in the death of a 96-year-old who had been increasingly frail. And yet no one under 70 will have known any other head of state in the UK; the Queen’s reign had extended throughout the whole adult lives of British people now in their 90s. Something has changed that many of us have not seen change before.
Has anyone else been so central to post-war British life? She has been on our money and our post for a lifetime. She opened every Parliament, and broadcast at every Christmas. And yet there must be hundreds of public figures that we feel we know better as people. As Andrew Marr pointed out, one of the mantras of the modern west is ‘Be yourself’, but the Queen resolutely refused to do that. Whoever she was in the privacy of her own homes, whatever her personal likes and dislikes, in public she revealed little more of herself than on the stamps and coins….
Stephen Tomkins is Editor of Reform
This is an extract from an article published in the October 2022 edition of Reform