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By Editorial staff

Journalist


Rest in peace, Your Majesty

Her son, Charles, immediately succeeded her as king – but for how long is anybody’s guess.


It was inevitable, yet its unexpectedness stunned many of her ardent fans: Queen Elizabeth II, who died yesterday, was an institution, not only in her own country, but around the world. And institutions do not die, do they?

The British royal family has been the world’s longest-running and most intensely watched soap opera, all the more magnetic because it is real. And millions will mourn her today … just as millions either couldn’t care less, or see her as a symbol of hundreds of years of bloody colonialism which caused the deaths of millions.

Yet, whatever one thinks of royalty and the British version in particular, one cannot deny that Elizabeth was a strong woman who put up graciously with the many challenges life threw at her in her 96 years. She was the essence of the “stiff upper lip” and “keep going regardless” spirit on which many British people pride themselves.

Although portrayed often as cold and aloof when it came to her family – especially after her perceived lack of emotion about the death of her daughter-in-law, Princess Diana – the Queen had a warm connection with her people … even those too young to remember she actually served in the military during World War II.

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Ascending the throne in 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI, she saw the dismantling of her country’s once-vast empire, the fall of the Soviet Union, outlived numerous prime ministers and saw Brexit, her country’s messy withdrawal from the European Union.

Her son, Charles, immediately succeeded her as king – but for how long is anybody’s guess. And how long the very institution of the monarchy will survive is also an open question – although even the most cynical republicans realise the royals are an indelible part of the country’s psyche and its international image, never mind being a major tourist drawcard.

Rest in peace, Your Majesty.

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