Five Things We Learned from the End of the Elizabethan Era

Five Things We Learned from the End of the Elizabethan Era

On September 8th, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom died at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. The nation said goodbye to its oldest living and longest-reigning monarch. Her death was announced at 6:30pm local time by the BBC’s Huw Edwards. In this episode of my podcast series, I want to have a look at the what the end of the Elizabethan era really means for Britain, the Commonwealth, and the rest of the world.

Britain has emerged from nearly two weeks of national mourning. The entire British state machinery was deployed to make the funeral not only as grand and spectacular as possible, but also unparalleled in recent memory.After an impressive display of pomp and pageantry, the process ended with a funeral service at Westminster Abbey, attended by some 500 world leaders, royals, and dignitaries. The Queen’s body was then transported to Windsor castle, where the late Queen was laid to rest in a private funeral service.

This effectively marked the end of the Elizabethan Era as Charles III is now the King of Britain, and the national anthem has now ‘God Save the King’ for the first time in more than seven decades.

 

The entire British state machinery was deployed to make the funeral not only as grand and spectacular as possible, but also unparalleled in recent memory.

This effectively marked the end of the Elizabethan Era as Charles III is now the King of Britain, and the national anthem has now ‘God Save the King’ for the first time in more than seven decades.

What have we really learned from this historic moment. I think there are 5 main lessons for all of us – even if you are not British by birth.

  • Death never ceases to surprise us

Death is humanity’s greatest leveller. It’s something we will all certainly experience one day. It still confounds when it suddenly strikes. The death of the Queen was to most people shocking. Her long reign made her to most people almost immortal. And when she suddenly died at Balmoral Castle, there was a feeling of disbelief, despite her advanced age and increasingly frail figure. Regardless of your status in society, once the funeral is over, the world moves on; everybody moves on, I mean at least those who are still alive.

  • Very public funerals are demanding and hard for family members

While almost every part of the funeral plan happened publicly in the most spectacular fashion, it must have been very gruelling for the new King and other members of the royal family. They put on a strong face to put their mother and grandmother to rest in the most respectable way in line with the royal tradition. However, it must have been very hard to do it, both publicly and privately.

  • Nation still divided over the future of the monarchy as an institution

The ascension of King Charles II to the throne symbolised the continuity of the British monarchy. Despite long queues of royal mourners paying their respect to the Queen as she lay in state and the outpouring emotion of national grief, the nation’s fault lines came to the fore. There were dissenting voices nonetheless, and they were being pushed to fringes. Some protesters, though a few in number, were arrested. Signs like ‘Not My King’ and ‘Abolish the Monarchy’ were put up in some of the crowds. The British monarchy, the BBC, the National Health Service (NHS) remain the cardinal signs of Britishness, yet the nation’s disagreement over the role of the monarchy going forward continues. The Commonwealth itself is undergoing significant changes – two Caribbean islands just removed the Queen as their Head of State; others are expected to follow suit.

  • Britain is still a relevant global power to reckon with

Even after the end of Britain’s colonial era, some 500 leaders came voluntarily to London for the Queen’s funeral – a remarkable feat that I think that no any other nation can pull off at this moment. I don’t even believe the death of an American president could attract this number of world leaders. I really don’t. Despite the country’s domestic challenges – like fractious and bitter national politics, high inflation rate and spiralling cost of living, and housing crisis – the United Kingdom is still undeniably a global power.

  • Remaining non-constitutional absolute monarchies still show no sign of shame

The British monarchy is a constitutional monarchy with no executive powers. The remaining absolute monarchies, mostly concentrated in the Arab world but exclusively, who also lined up for the Queen’s funeral felt no shame that in today’s world, an absolute monarchy is shameful and out of fashion at best. These autocratic monarchies have no plans to relinquish any sort of power nor genuinely share national wealth with their masses. Their eventual downfall is inevitable if they do not institutionalise their role in society while relinquishing executive power, just as the British monarchy did in the late 1600, a process that was completed in early 1700. Do these remaining absolute monarchies learn any lesson from the British history? I don’t see any sign of that, at least for now.

 

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