In the picture
Portrait of Elizabeth II [Buckingham Palace].
[This text is an abridged version of article originally published in 'ABC', September 11, 2022].
Elizabeth II, who will go down in history as 'Elizabeth the Great', was an exemplary monarch, model moral perhaps unattainable of any reigning crown. Her exemplarity lay in a very strong Christian conviction not of her right but of her divine duty, as she assumed since she received the anointing at her coronation in 1953 at the age of 27. From her Anglican tradition - more Catholic than Protestant - the Faith she professed and defended instilled in her the importance of service from humility. That vocation of service - constant and plenary session of the Executive Council in her work ethic - allowed her to reign with dignity, decency, grace and elegance. She modeled her persona on that of her father, George VI, king unexpectedly due to the abdication of his brother Edward VIII, who opted for a relationship with a divorced American woman rather than a dynastic obligation. Her father reigned with closeness without evading the danger of the Nazi bombings, family man and devoted father, magnanimous sovereign, died prematurely at the age of 56 when his daughter was on honeymoon in Kenya.
As constitutional Queen of fifteen states, her greatest achievement was the conversion of the British Empire into a Commonwealth of Nations, from Australia to Malta, 56 countries and 150 million subjects who recognized her as Queen, Queen of the world. She had few, if any, mistakes of state. She never took off her gloves - as I experienced firsthand when I was part of the entourage that welcomed her to the University of Hull - but she knew how to modernize from telematic audiences by 'Zoom' to performances with James Bond and Paddington Bear. At all times, he remained neutral and impartial, never allowing himself to fall prey to flattery or manipulation, silencing his opinion, his bias, his preference with a discipline that forced him into solitude in public. She found refuge in the intimacy of her marriage to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who with his irony, not mischievous, but mischievous, gave relief from the formalism, pomp and circumstance traditional at the British Court.
His life gave continuity to the Monarchy, linking his reign in the collective imagination with the imperial splendor of the reign of his great-great-grandmother Victoria (a kinship he shared with our King Emeritus Juan Carlos). The affection and respect that this continuity entailed overruled any republican or secessionist cause both in the United Kingdom and in his overseas kingdoms.
Her death opens the dam to all that she would never have wanted to live. It is likely that, in the not too distant future, many countries will leave the Commonwealth in protest against the narrative of a supposedly white, elitist and patriarchal imperialism, that Australia will become a republic as Scotland opts for independence from the union and that Northern Ireland will unite with the Republic of Ireland. If all this happens, England in the meantime will probably disintegrate in the diversity of its classes and identities while the black hole of the capital empties the countryside.
Her son, the now King Carlos III, whose moral authority does not have the constancy of his mother, does not seem to be able to contain this dam despite his pseudo-intellectual idealism in promoting urban and agricultural sustainability. The death of the Queen does not come at a good time for a country that is unable to recover from the undeclared 'civil war' that the process of leaving the European Union entailed. Brexit brought populism and its lies to public life.