Remembering the Queen

From this article in the Atlantic

The second Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926, and has reigned over Britain since 1952. She was six weeks older than Marilyn Monroe, three years older than Anne Frank, nine years older than Elvis Presley—all figures of the unreachable past. She was older than nylon, Scotch tape, and The Hobbit. She was old enough to have trained as an army driver and mechanic in the last months of the Second World War.

“The conception of monarchy as a way of life is not easy to explain to those who are unaccustomed to it,” Morrah wrote in 1958, just six years into Elizabeth II’s reign. “To peoples whose social system and patriotic tradition are founded upon revolt against a distant or authoritarian king—to the Americans and the French, for example—it is apt to seem a paradox. Such as these are inclined to suppose that the British people only continue to tolerate their ancient monarchy because its real content has been emptied out of it by political progress.” But this was not true, Morrah argued. The British monarchy is one of the few institutions in history to have voluntarily ceded power, whether it be Charles II accepting the existence of Parliament or Elizabeth II paying income tax.

The Queen is dead; long live the King. The world must now discover, after a reign that lasted seven decades, what England, and Britain, is without her.