Photo: A Side-by-side comparison of Queen Elizabeth II between 1959 and 2015

Queen Elizabeth II is a phenomenon in her own right, not just due to her position and title, but also the integrity, resilience and stability with which she has continued to reign on the British Isles, albeit ceremoniously. Her relevance far extends the shores of the UK and beyond. Lest we forget her status as the Head of the Commonwealth (comprising of fifty-three sovereign states) and,  additionally, to add to that repertoire, her unequivocal popularity as the most famous royal in the world, and one that has stayed so for over 9 decades, since her popularity began before her coronation. 

Queen Elizabeth has maintained stability for her family during a century that saw many of the royal houses around the world be removed from power

Although certain historians have been known to disagree with the statement made in the headline of this article, given that Elizabeth II’s reign has been as Head of State without any governing power, I must, in turn, disagree with those particular history chroniclers. Our current Queen’s reign has encompassed a tumultuous century where most other nation’s monarchs and entire royal families have seen a fate that has resulted in exile, removal or, at worst, murder. Given the changing times, Queen Elizabeth II could simply not have led as an absolute ruler without endangering her position, the continuation of the House of Windsor, and not to mention, her own life along with her family’s lives. One need only browse through recent historical records to read of the fate of the many royal families that do not exist anymore, be it the murder of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and the Romanov family, exile of King Constantine II of Greece, or massacre of King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev of Nepal and 9 other family members in one night – the list goes on and on. Old royal kingdoms have given way to new republics, where birth-right royalty is frowned upon, and democratically voted leaders are welcomed. Hence, the continuing popularity of the British Monarch and her House of Windsor are a personification of unicorns in the current state of the world and its leaders.

 

Photo: Her Majesty the Queen during her visit to HMS Ocean in Devonport. PLYMOUTH based Helicopter Carrier, HMS Ocean, has welcomed Her Majesty The Queen to preside over a ceremony to rededicate the Ship by Joel Rouse/Ministry of Defence is licensed under OGL 3

Queen Elizabeth has been synonymous with integrity, resilience and stability in spite of the pressures of fame

During a reign that started at the young age of twenty-five, which continues on in her nineties – making her the longest-reigning monarch at sixty-seven years and counting – the Queen has been synonymous with integrity, resilience, and stability. The pressure of fame is such that most succumb underneath the unbearable weight of limelight … yet not a single stain can be found on the Queen’s personal reputation in a career that has spanned nearly 7 decades. For those that do not understand the brilliance of this, one need only look at the lives and careers of celebrities who have been famous for less than a decade and yet crumble, unable to withstand the pressures of their popularity. There are also Instagram influencers and YouTube vloggers that have deleted their million-plus strong channels due to the stressors of their newfound modern fame – and I say the aforementioned statement with full respect to those that have found it hard to carry on in the glare of attention due to their work in the limelight, not diminishing their achievements but rather to provide context and highlight the level of difficulty a monarch as famous as Queen Elizabeth II might face. Thus, we must acknowledge that Elizabeth II’s stainless reputation deserves the utmost respect in equal fervor as the one she has garnered to conduct herself within the exposed life she has survived. 

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown”

To those that say, “it’s easy, she is royalty and has everything” – one can merely glance at her own family members and relatives to sympathetically realize that “easy” is not a word that can ever describe the lives of those born in royalty. The Queen is truly a rarity, in all senses of the word – staying for the most part within the confinements of good in an environment where the press is usually awash with news on the Royals, both good and bad.  To those that scoff at the previous statement and point at episodes related to her family members, children or daughters-in-law, it might be wise to remember that her reaction to their state of affairs is vastly separated from her personal conduct of her own self. As an individual and concerning her path, she continues to stay unblemished regardless of the infestation of difficulty her thread-like path has been strewn with. As William Shakespeare has so brilliantly penned, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

Video: Nepal welcomes Queen Elizabeth II/British Movietone

Queen Elizabeth’s positive impact on Britain’s economy

To those that say, “how has she added value to her country?” and incorrectly diminish her role to waving her hand at various events, I must correct them for the sake of a virtue that is largely missing from today’s societal narrative – that specific virtue being…facts. The Queen has added value to the British nation in terms of economy as much as she has in regards to reputation and respect. Tourism income is hugely boosted due to the existence of a reigning Queen and a royal family – well, I might want to get more specific here – a popular Queen and a popular royal family. There are many countries in the world with various unique selling points adding to their tourism – be it food/architecture for Italy, nature/culture for Nepal, beaches/history for Greece, or skyscrapers/Hollywood for USA – but the United Kingdom is one of the very few that can count their royal family as a draw for visitors from all over the world, many who come just for the royals or their highly watched weddings. When was the last time any of us heard of the entire world’s attention being captured by any other celebrity’s wedding with the same passionate response, both good and bad, as received by the weddings of, Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince William and Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. This popularity brought with it, real profits to the British economy in more ways than just tourismtangible and quantifiable profits.

Video: Queen Elizabeth in Rome, Italy for a state visit/Canale25

Video: London is brought to a standstill, as the King of Nepal is welcomed to the UK by Queen Elizabeth II/British Movietone

Anyone with a sense of international deals and interests that extend away from tabloids and into more perceptive journalism may have noticed that Queen Elizabeth’s involvement in major deals concerning the British economy’s ties with foreign nations has been more than just decorative or mere hand-waving. There are easily sourced records that shed light to the fact that there have been many deals in which the prime ministers of the UK have failed, but the involvement of the Queen has quickly resuscitated negotiations into full long term contracts. All those photos and videos which we have all gotten accustomed to, specifically of her international visits, have more to do with bettering the UK’s economic ties and alliances with those countries than just increasing her personal following and fanfare.

Queen Elizabeth’s role as a humanitarian 

Queen Elizabeth II has done more for charity than any other monarch in the history of the world. She has truly made an impact that deserves respect in the field of charity and philanthropy. Her presence as a patron of any charity, brings to it, a level of awareness, respect and funding – that could not have been garnered otherwise. Over 600 charities and causes have had the honour of receiving the Queen’s patronage – the impact of which has increased funding and raise donations amounting to over 1.4 billion pounds at last count and helped millions of people all over the world. In 2012, she carried out over 425 engagements in just one year, many of which were for charitable purposes. Along with providing extensive visibility to charities to help with fundraising, the Queen has time and again personally donated to causes such as helping the victims of the earthquake disaster in Nepal in 2015. Some of the many charities include Save the Children U.K. to help children all over the world, British Red Cross to help people in crisis, Cancer Research U.K. to help cancer research and awareness, Blind Veterans U.K. to help vision-impaired ex-armed forces and National Service personnel, etc. showing the diverse interests the Queen represents i.e. education, environmental bodies, schools, universities, arts organisations, children’s charities, professional institutions, wildlife, hospitals, social clubs, sports associations, armed services and agricultural societies. Even in the ninety-third year of her life, she continues to devote her time to giving back and supporting causes that help millions of people. 

Ups and downs are a part of any family’s life, be it private or famous, common or royal, small or large, poor or rich, struggling or successful. The House of Windsor is no different. At a young age, Elizabeth saw her uncle’s abdication which forced her family unwillingly into the limelight with her father stammeringly taking control of the reigns and reigning as King. By 25, her father’s untimely demise thrust her onto the throne which came with its own set of supposed trials and tribulations beyond those that most monarchs encounter. Her sister, Princess Margaret’s full-of-life vivacity and tendency to colour beyond the lines frequently came into loggerheads with the Queen’s ideals as an individual, sister, and monarch. Her journey through her own children’s highly publicised, dissected and tumultuous personal and marital lives, was no easy fare in their own right – the details of which, out of my respect to her, I shall avoid repeating under my name. I have always considered it unkind for people to drag other families’ difficult episodes through mud, and definitely so when done as a form of entertainment, and the Royals are no exception in this case. Furthermore, the avoidance of gossip and scandal is also with respect to Hollywood Insider’s mission statement. Through the hurricane of media spectacle, she has stayed unflinching, stable and unabashedly strong as a guiding lighthouse while having every detail of her family’s life being played out in public with the constant presence of the press and the 20th-century invention – paparazzi. Paparazzi, the term and disease, have never infected anyone else as cruelly or fatally as it has the Windsors, which includes those that hold that surname by relation, blood or marriage. Although none of the aforementioned unfortunate occurrences were ever due to the Queen, she has often found herself dragged into the center of it, albeit, by association and her relational links. But, I must state again, never were any of those dark episodes due to her own doing.

Luckily, aside from a few growing pains, she has fared much better with her grandchildren who have managed to raise the popularity of the royal family to a 60-year high. The sons and daughters-in-law, of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, as a solid group of four, namely William, Harry, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle are household names the world over. Oh, let’s be clear, much-loved household names. And the children of that solid four, have now captured hearts and imaginations in countries all over the world, as news channels, publications and social media are abuzz with the names of Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and the latest addition Prince Archie.

Queen Elizabeth II will continue to be spoken of in the highest regards for more reasons than I could ever list. She is undoubtedly one of the greatest monarchs the world has ever had, given the set of circumstances she reigned under. Given the zest with which she continues to live, I suspect there are, still, further victories and triumphs to be attributed to her – be it in the name of leadership, charity, humanitarianism, international ties, stability and of course, her role as a great-grandmother. I rest my case with the words of the future King who is also her grandson William, Duke of Cambridge, as he has aptly put it, “I think I speak for my generation when I say that the example and continuity provided by The Queen is not only very rare among leaders but a great source of pride and reassurance.” 

God Save the Queen. 

By Pritan Ambroase

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