At 11:00 a.m. local time on September 19, 2022 in the UK, after a ten-day national mourning period, the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II was held at Westminster Abbey in London. The Queen was held in the same place before her death. weddings and coronations.
A number of heads of state, dignitaries and members of the royal family attended the funeral of the British Queen, including the special representative of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vice President Wang Qishan. Wang Qishan expressed to the British side that Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. She has witnessed the changes of the times and is a symbol of the British national spirit and cohesion. She is deeply loved by the British people and has made important contributions to the development of China-UK relations.
On the Queen’s coffin is a commemorative card handwritten by her successor, which reads: “In loving and devout memory – Charles.”
Hundreds of thousands of people from across the UK went to London to mourn the Queen, many Waiting all night by the route of the Queen’s coffin, hoping to bid farewell to the Queen’s last journey at the nearest distance. When the hearse passed by, people threw flowers in their hands onto the car and shed tears emotionally.
In the end, Queen Elizabeth II was buried in the King George VI Memorial Hall at Windsor Castle, where her parents, sister Princess Margaret and husband Prince Philip rest in peace.
“The rock upon which modern Britain was built”
On the evening of September 8, Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96. Just two days before her death, the Queen also fulfilled her constitutional duties: meeting with the former prime minister and the new prime minister at Ballemore Castle in Scotland, first accepting Johnson’s resignation, and then formally appointing Truss as the new prime minister.
In his eulogy, delivered in front of the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Truss referred to the Queen as “the rock upon which modern Britain was built”.
Since the death of the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, on April 9, 2021, her physical and mental state has been in decline. For more than a year, news of her gradually weakening body has been heard from time to time.
After she was hospitalized after canceling a trip to Ireland in October 2021, her health deteriorated markedly, often reducing her public activities and appearances due to “occasional mobility problems”.
In February 2022, she was diagnosed with the new coronavirus. In early May, she was absent from the opening ceremony of the British Parliament’s new year session due to mobility issues. In June, during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne, Queen Elizabeth II also gave up participating in some celebrations for health reasons.
On September 6, the Queen uncharacteristically did not appoint Truss at Buckingham Palace in London in accordance with British practice, but chose to hold the appointment ceremony of the new Prime Minister at Ballemore Castle in Scotland. After the ceremony, a virtual meeting of the Privy Council Advisory Group, scheduled for September 7, had to be postponed as doctors advised him to rest.
Not only is the location of the new Prime Minister’s appointment ceremony abnormal, but the official photos of the Queen and the new Prime Minister when they meet have also aroused many associations. Observers pointed out that the image of the queen in the photo appears to be unusually weak, with the back of her hand black and needing crutches for support.
end of an era
Elizabeth ascended to the throne on February 6, 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI, and was crowned on June 2, 1953, as Queen Elizabeth II in history. She is Britain’s longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch to date, and probably one of the best-known women in the contemporary world. While most of her peers have become distant history, as the Queen of England, she has left enough traces in the long history.
Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926 in London. For the first ten years of her life, no one expected that she would one day become queen, after all, her uncle David, not her father Albert, was in line to the British throne. At the age of six, Elizabeth told her equestrian trainer that she wanted to be a country lady with a herd of horses and dogs. Her life took a turn in 1936. That year, when King George V died in January, David succeeded to the throne as Edward VIII, but abdicated a few months later because he insisted on marrying the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson, and Elizabeth’s father became King Edward VIII. King George VI.
In 1947, Elizabeth delivered one of the most important speeches of her life over the radio on her 21st birthday in South Africa. “I swear in front of all of you that, no matter how short or long this life is, I will do my best for all the people of the Commonwealth, for the imperial family to which we belong.” She often recalled this oath later.
Five years later, on February 6, 1952, during a visit to Kenya, Elizabeth and her husband learned of the death of her father, George VI, and that she had become Queen of England. At that time, she and her husband were in a tree hotel. The locals call it “the upper tree is the princess, and the lower tree is the queen”.
On February 6, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II ushered in the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne, the Platinum Jubilee. Beginning on June 2 of the same year, the United Kingdom held a four-day Platinum Jubilee celebration for her. At the celebration held in Beijing, the British embassy in China specially found those who participated in the Queen’s visit to China to recall the past. The Queen of England has visited more than 100 countries in the world during her tenure, and she is the first British monarch to visit China. In October 1986, the Queen of England started a 6-day state visit to China, visiting Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Kunming and Guangzhou, where she visited the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warriors.
Zhang Youyun was the interpreter throughout the Queen’s visit to China. Before meeting the Queen, she said that all she thought about was Her Majesty, and she was very reserved, but once she got in touch with the Queen, she felt that she was very friendly, and like ordinary people, she did not have the majesty of the Queen. “This is something I didn’t expect.” Zhang Youyun said.
At the Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors Museum, the queen marveled at the spectacle of the Terracotta Warriors. Wu Zilin, the curator of Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shihuang at the time recalled: “She was very surprised. China had such a large area of terracotta figurines and horses more than 2,000 years ago… She carefully looked at everyone’s nose and eyes, and the horses also Look.”
Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne have witnessed dramatic changes in Britain’s politics, economy, society and culture. She was succeeded by Winston Churchill, and Truss was the 15th British Prime Minister she appointed.
In these 70 years, the UK has gone through countless vicissitudes: post-World War II austerity, reconstruction, prosperity and decline, the disintegration of the British Empire and subsequent transition to the Commonwealth, the beginning and end of the Cold War, the UK’s accession to the European Union And leaving the European Union…
The year of the Queen’s death is not an ordinary year, and may even be one of the most turbulent years in the UK in her 70 years in office.
In just over eight months in 2022, the UK has experienced a rare cost of living crisis, Johnson’s “party gate”, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, a national strike in multiple industries, the prospect of a cloudy recession, the change of the Prime Minister, and many more. Political and economic storms. Now the Queen’s death has brought another emotional storm to the British.
The Queen’s death has dealt a heavy emotional blow to the British. On the night of her death, many people have sadly called her 70 years on the throne “the second Elizabethan era” (there is also a queen named Elizabeth in British history, known as Elizabeth I in history) .
It should be said that most people in the UK have lived, struggled, rejoiced, and grieved more or less in the “Second Elizabethan Age”. Their life stories may have nothing to do with the Queen herself, but they are definitely related to the “Second Elizabethan Age”. They talk about the sentimentality of this era, about the same way the British talked about the sentimentality of the “Victorian era” more than 100 years ago.
As Queen, Queen Elizabeth II is only a constitutional monarch, not a powerful political leader. Although her role is symbolic, the Queen largely represents the stability of the country, and her presence on the international stage is credited with boosting Britain’s prestige. But she has also faced controversy, notably the death of Princess Diana in 1997. The Queen has been criticised for being too aloof after Diana’s death in a car accident. She was at Ballemore Castle in Scotland and did not return to London until five days later. In the end, she broke with convention and expressed her condolences on Diana’s death on live television.
Where is the British monarchy going?
The constitutional monarchy originated in the United Kingdom, and it is a unique contribution made by the United Kingdom to the development of the human political system.
As a ceremonial head of state in the British political system, the king or queen after the implementation of the constitutional monarchy in the United Kingdom has no term limit and does not perform the actual duties of managing the country. The role of “lifetime” actually makes the British who like to compromise tradition and fashion, mixed-blood radical and conservative, turn corruption into magic, and “enlighten” it into modern political revolving party rotation, a certain kind of stability in the process of changing prime ministers. Symbol, emotional support.
And this ceremonial role seems to be naturally suitable for women.
But not necessarily. There have been many queens and queens in ancient and modern times. There have been many queens in British history. Some queens and queens, including queens in British history, were tyrannical, perverse, cruel, or mediocre, but Queen Elizabeth II Different, she is gentle and diligent, but rarely scandalous. She is neither humble nor arrogant, but she has no intention of interfering in politics. She seems to be in line with the design and expectations of the constitutional monarch in the modern British political system. Therefore, for 70 years, she has been deeply loved by all walks of life in the UK. .
However, during the 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, the British constitutional monarchy has also experienced a serious crisis. Queen Elizabeth II herself has few scandals, which does not mean that her family has no scandals.
Perhaps, the ancient kings and queens of England had more and more ridiculous scandals, but there were no newspapers, no TV, and no Internet at that time. Ordinary people knew almost nothing about the palace fights and scandals in the palace, while Elizabeth II In the past 70 years of his reign, royal gossip has actually become a topic of conversation for ordinary people after dinner, and a “hands-off” for British tabloids to expand their circulation. Even ordinary Chinese can vividly describe Diana and Charles’s respective extramarital affairs, Prince Andrew The absurd and indecent sexual affairs, the grudges between Harry and Meghan and their parents, stepmother and sister-in-law, these scandals not only completely ruined the reputation of the British royal family, but also added new “ammunition” to groups in the UK that advocate the abolition of the monarchy .
On May 27, 2015, Queen Elizabeth and others attended the opening ceremony of the British Parliament. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are on the right, and Prince Charles and Camilla are on the left. Figure/Visual China
But despite decades of vigorous efforts by Britain’s republicans to persuade the populace, Britons who eventually become their followers have never made up more than a quarter of the population.
Decades of data from pollster Ipsos Mori show that the proportion of Britons who advocated the abolition of the monarchy was 18% in 1969, 18% in 1993, 19% in 2002, 18% in 2011, and 18% in 2020. 22% in 2018, while “royalists” have been steadily making up around three-quarters of the UK population.
The pollster described the finding as “probably the most stable trend we’ve measured”.
How has the British monarchy survived external revolutions and internal scandals over the centuries? Why do British “royalists” always occupy the majority of the population?
First, there are psychological needs.
As early as more than 100 years ago, British economist and former editor-in-chief of The Economist, Walter Bagehot, pondered this question. He argues that, as colonial and imperial wealth dwindled, the British were increasingly eager to define greatness as something other than wealth and territory. They believe that they are inherently special. “People began to put their respect in the drama of society, and the climax of the drama was the queen.”
Bagehot’s explanation still seems to apply to Britain more than 100 years later.
For example, the extravagant wedding of Prince William and Princess Kate from the commoner’s home not only became the focus of global attention, but also satisfied the romantic imagination of ordinary British people on the marriage of princes and commoners.
Second, there are constitutional reasons.
Although the British “virtual monarch” has no real power, its abolition may have serious constitutional consequences.
British historian Simon Sharma believes that because the United Kingdom does not have a written constitution, if it is changed to a republic, a president will be elected as the head of state. foundation, which involves a massive overhaul of the Constitution and threatens centuries of British tradition.
An interesting claim is that England never had a lasting revolution against the monarchy, precisely because it was the first country in the world to guillotine its king: England executed King Charles I in 1649, while the Few of the continental powers knew that there were other political system options besides monarchy. Since then, Britain has acquired immunity against the revolution, which continues to this day.
Third, there are economic considerations.
Many people believe that the British royal family is entirely supported by taxpayer dollars. But the British royal family is actually the largest landowner in the UK, and the various properties it owns naturally have great benefits, far exceeding the taxes allocated to the royal family by the government.
In addition, as the most well-known royal family in the world, the British royal family has also become one of the most well-known brands in the UK to attract foreign tourists.
The US “Forbes” magazine reported that the British royal family contributed nearly 1.8 billion pounds to the British economy every year, including 550 million pounds to the British tourism industry.
By comparison, British taxpayers paid just £82.2 million for the royal family in 2019.
”As long as our royals bring in much more than they cost, it’s unlikely anyone will be dissatisfied.” After examining the economic pros and cons of retaining the royal family, published by Scotland’s Mail on Sunday, So summed up.
Finally, it is the affinity of the Queen herself.
As mentioned earlier, Queen Elizabeth II is gentle and close to the people, has few scandals, and is deeply loved by the British. It has to be said that during the 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, the British monarchy has experienced strong winds and waves, and other members of the royal family have continued to have scandals. In the anger of public opinion, the British monarchy may also crumble in the waves of the times without the “rock” support of the queen that Truss said.
But a deeper crisis may be hidden behind the Queen’s affinity.
In a sense, with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who had become a “mother” monarch in her later years, and with the accession of King Charles, who had been scandalous from a young age, the British constitutional monarchy may experience a more serious crisis.
Perhaps, those Britons who condone royal scandals in the face of Queen Elizabeth II may not now look to King Charles and condone further royal scandals?