Icon of stability. Will the “soft power” of the British monarchy continue?

Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-reigning monarch, has died at Balmoral Castle, Scotland’s royal summer residence, at the age of 96, leaving many parts of the world, not just Britain. , in mourning With the queen’s death, long-planned arrangements began to take place for the queen, the palace, the government and local authorities, as well as the media.

Although this protocol after the death of the Queen has been in force since the 1960s, documents leaked by Politico in September 2021 revealed new details about the government’s plans, called Operation London Bridge, bridges to use as a sword in case of his death.

Politico stated that following the Queen’s death, a “chain of calls” would begin reporting “to the Prime Minister (the position currently held by Liz Truss), the Cabinet and a number of senior ministers and officials, with the Private Secretary to the Queen reporting to the Prime Minister (Truss), who is also Who will report to the office of the Privy Council, which coordinates the work of the government on behalf of the King?

Another plan, “Operation Unicorn”, was implemented in conjunction with Operation London Bridge. The Guardian newspaper explained that the unicorn operation includes “the temporary placement of the queen’s coffin in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, after being transported there by land two days after her death.”

The existence of such meticulously planned arrangements for the death of the country’s ruler confirms the importance of a smooth transition of power within the British monarchy, and supports the idea of ​​British traditions.

stability icon

Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-reigning monarch in British history, having become queen on February 6, 1952 and crowned on June 2, 1953. Elizabeth’s ascension – also nicknamed Blilipt – to the throne surprised everyone, as his father, King George VI, became king after his brother, King Edward Eighth, abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Spencer in 1936. On February 6, 1952, King George VI died in his sleep while Elizabeth was in Kenya, so she was forced to return home to take over as queen.

Elizabeth lived an extraordinary life, from a young girl who did not consider becoming a queen, to a famous symbol and icon, her reign witnessed the greatest developments and transformations in almost all areas.

Elizabeth II, aged 14, recorded her first radio broadcast in 1940 on the BBC for a children’s program, sending a message of support to young people affected by war in Europe, especially those who had been evacuated from their homes. In addition, the princess was able to persuade her father to allow her to serve her country during World War II, and she also volunteered at the Provincial Women’s Service to help, becoming a driver and training as a mechanic. automotive. “It was a pioneering step; Not only was she the first member of her family to serve in the military, but the sight of a woman dismantling engines and changing tires sparked a drastic shift in gender and social roles that will haunt the future queen for the rest of her life. . ”

The Duke of Edinburgh married the Queen on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey and they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2017. As Queen, she was a patron of more than 500 organizations and her face is engraved on coins in 35 countries. . She owned more than 30 corgi and dorje dogs during her reign. She and she served in her time 15 British Prime Ministers and witnessed 14 Presidents of the United States during this period.

More importantly, what Forbes magazine mentioned is that Queen Elizabeth was regarded throughout her reign as a stabilizing force, when she ascended the throne, her calm, in addition to the peaceful approach she followed to play her new role, was what the people needed at that time, the nation had just emerged, at the time of a chaotic period. But she was able to maintain this stability throughout her reign in the face of any new crisis she witnessed, be it political or economic, or even during periods of epidemics. Even at times when the public questioned the need for the royal family, the stability brought by the Queen was seen as indispensable.

Impressive soft power

“I promise before all of you that my whole life, short or long, will be dedicated to your service and that of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” This was the statement she made of her on her twenty-first birthday, which was a clear indication of how much Elizabeth valued the idea of ​​her service to the public, and was the basis of her judgment.

Throughout the seventy years of her reign, Elizabeth was able to combine two roles: the role of head of state in the first place, as well as that of leader of the nation.

The constitution requires the head of state in the UK to follow the government’s recommendations and undertake many responsibilities, including “appointing the Prime Minister and all other ministers, opening new sessions of parliament and granting royal assent to bills approved by the Cortes Generales, so that they become official laws”. Therefore, one of the main reasons for the success of Elizabeth’s government was her ability to maintain general political neutrality and not to interfere formally in the most important political decisions of the government.

On the other hand, the Queen’s role as the nation’s leader lies in being a center of “national identity, unity and pride, a source of a sense of stability and continuity, an official symbol of success and excellence, and a supporter of the values ​​of volunteer service.” The concept of stability and continuity, which we mentioned earlier, was another reason for Elizabeth II’s success as Queen. Although her role is considered ceremonial, this does not mean that her influence was limited.

An example of this influence is his weekly secret meetings with his prime ministers. Given his long experience in public affairs, which surpasses all his experiences, these meetings with the Queen may have had an impact on the views of his prime ministers.

Furthermore, Elizabeth II intended to present herself as a figure associated with and in agreement with the whole of the United Kingdom. So the unifying force of her nation was gentle, but also real. She never felt that her belonging to England was greater than her belonging to Scotland, or that she was more of a symbol of Northern Ireland than, say, Wales. The Queen visited Ireland. on an official visit in 2012, and that was the first time that she The British monarch, who rules Ireland, has visited Ireland since her separation from the United Kingdom. During that famous visit, she shook hands with Martin McGuinness, one of the Republicans most associated with violent groups in the past. “He was a unifying power, using his soft power cautiously and indirectly with the sole aim of preserving the unity and remnants of the empire… the Commonwealth.”

And Queen Elizabeth is not only the Queen of the United Kingdom, but also the Queen of 14 other countries, including Canada along with other countries in the Asia-Pacific and Caribbean region, which are known as the “Commonwealth realms.” , which we must differentiate from the “Commonwealth countries”, which are a group of 56 countries that were once part of the British Empire, but most of them are no longer subservient to the Queen. Elizabeth II inherited the title of Head of the Commonwealth from her father and chose to act accordingly, for which she is often credited with “the orchestrated fall of the Empire” (i.e. voluntarily switching from the empire to the Commonwealth). She also made an international mark and strengthened it by traveling more than all her predecessors.”

The Queen also held the title of “Defender of Religion and Supreme Sovereign of the Church of England”, and practiced her religion in public, continuing to attend Mass every Sunday and not missing any religious occasion. She has always cited her faith and God’s place in her life in almost all of her speeches, making her a religious symbol embodying the values ​​revered by the British people.

Further strong evidence of her soft influence is that Queen Elizabeth recognized the power of the media from an early age: in 1953, she requested that her coronation in Westminster Abbey be broadcast live, as she always maintained that “people he must see you in order to believe you.” Television gave him a larger audience, and when color television came along, he used brighter colors to stand out. communication.

More importantly, the internet has given him another way to connect and get closer to the British public, and he has maintained his social media presence to be a part of and influence people’s daily lives.

So Elizabeth II was iconic for her ability to recognize the importance of soft power. It has managed to maintain its political neutrality, as it has often been a safe haven for the most prominent political figures within the government, and at the same time it has been able to bring a sense of unity and stability to the people by finding and maintaining ways to communicate with the public. And her “soft impact of hers” was not only limited to the British people, but her imprint extended to the international arena.

In conclusion, Professor Garton Ash, of the University of Oxford, stated that “we will probably never meet another British figure who mourns his death publicly on a global level… what happened represents in some ways the last moments of British greatness. ”.

On the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Charles III, the former Prince of Wales, was proclaimed king. In his first speech before Parliament, King Charles pledged to uphold the “valuable principles of constitutional government”, following his late mother’s example of self-sacrifice and altruism. But the question remains whether he will be able to fill the void left by his mother, while at the same time working in his own way to communicate with the people and rally public support for the British monarchy again.

The Center for Research and Studies of the Future of the Future