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Elizabeth II: The Oldest Ruling Monarch Alive

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Queen Elizabeth II- the oldest ruling monarch of the world alive- became the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom on September 9, 2015, surpassing her great-grandmother Queen Victoria. In a period where democracy and its values are being heralded as the principal realm of governance, it is indeed quite a moment for Queen Elizabeth II to reign over the United Kingdom for over six decades beginning from 1953, along with being the head of the state for 16 other nations. Her legacy as it proclaims to have brought stability to Great Britain also has other flip sides.

Picture of Queen Elizabeth in Feb 2012

Picture of Queen Elizabeth in Feb 2012 [Pic: AFP]

Monarchy, as it gives individualism an upper hand in the administrative affairs of a state, is being opposed by many across the world and every fourth person in the United Kingdom demands a republic nation. A person being given the authority to approve legislations and be the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, just because of the family she hails from is an increasingly unacceptable norm in the twenty-first century.

Thus, the volatility of eminence is high that could put the future of the English Crown and its privileges at stake. Understanding this well, Queen Elizabeth had played silent in many occasions by not taking any revolutionary steps but only to maintain the status-quo run intact, so that power remains within the premises of the Royal Family. Thus, the stability she has brought is by being silent and not making any bold moves. Instead, the queen supports more than 600 charity organizations.

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The world has changed much since Queen Elizabeth became the head of the state. World’s population in 1952 was 2.6 billion, which has tripled to 7.3 billion in 2015. The status of the monarch and the family hasn’t changed much while that of the United Kingdom has changed drastically. In 1952, 4% of the households didn’t have a working member in their family, which has grown to 16% today (Source: The Economist). Each of the British taxpayers pays $1.14 as public funding to the Royal Family and its members, quoted NBC News in 2009.

List of English Monarchs

List of English Monarchs [Pic: The Economist]

Some of her reforms had taken place within the Royal family itself wherein the female members of the Royal family have equal rights to the crown as the males. The financial status has been made more transparent in which the Family has stopped receiving funds from the government through Civil List from the year 2013, which had otherwise been a practice for nearly 250 years. Marriages of the Royal family members to Catholics are approved, which was previously not permitted since 1701. Marriage to a Jew, a Muslim or a Hindu is accepted even then.

Queen Elizabeth II described the year 1992 horrible, in her words, ‘annus horribilis’ as the nuptial bonds of her three out of five children failed. It is during this year, Windsor Castle, one of the British Monarch’s official residences, went on fire when a curtain in the Queen’s Private Chapel got ignited by a spotlight. Reparations to the castle were made in the subsequent years at an estimated cost of £36.5 million. Her silence after the death of Princess Diana brought her severe criticism saying that she didn’t leave to London quickly as she received the message but remained in Scotland.

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Born as Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, she was never anticipated to be the Queen as she was born to the second son of King George V, Prince Albert. After her grandfather’s death, King Edward VIII, her father’s only elder brother ascended the throne. As he fell in love with twice-divorced Wallis Simpson of America, he had to abdicate the throne to win his love.

Thus, father of Queen Elizabeth II became King George VI. She became the successor to her father and became the Queen, soon after her father’s death at the age of 26. By that time the world was broken into Capitalist and Communist blocks, economies recovering from the two world wars and Queen Elizabeth II was politically novice to make it to the throne.

Elizabth II and Prince Philip Marriage

Elizabeth II stood strong in her decision against her Father to marry Prince Philip

She hasn’t decided to abdicate the throne, yet she has reduced her activities in the recent past. She may decide to preside over the helm of affairs until her death like her great grandmother Queen Victoria.

With a raise in democratic ideals and principles worldwide, it is quite surprising to witness a monarch who has already left and continue to wield a legacy of stability in the modern world. But what is ahead can be quite different. In an era where every commoner has her say in everyday political affairs, a member of the Royal family cannot go silent, as the problems we face have a global impact. Already one can hear Prince Charles arguing for reduction of carbon emissions to avoid a climatic catastrophe. Fortunately, he didn’t inherit the wisdom of being silent.

Related Video: Queen Elizabeth II: The Last of Britishness?

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