This is a moment of history as Queen Elizabeth II, a beloved monarch who has reigned for over 70 years, is dead. Her legacy in winding down a vast British Empire and forming a bond between the sovereign and subjects in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the New Commonwealth, has tremendous significance in the world as well.
Queen Elizabeth’s presence is still embedded in British life in coins and banknotes, stamps and post-boxes, in royal warrants, but more in the hearts and minds of her people, who have turned out in their thousands to line the route of the cortege a distance of 100 miles from Balmoral estate to the Palace of Holyrood House overnight, before being moved to St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland, where it will lie in state on Monday 12 September 2022, ahead of her State Funeral on Monday 19 September in the Palace of Westminster, which has been declared a bank holiday.
Queen Elizabeth had much affection for Scotland as her family, her mother Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, was Scottish and her beloved husband, Prince Philip took the title, The Duke of Edinburgh. Her love of everything Scottish was legendary.
The proclamation of King Charles III
It is also the time for Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall who has waited 53 long years in preparation to the throne, proclaimed as His Majesty King Charles III in legal succession.
It is the first time that there was pomp and ceremony as well as mourning, as the Crown passed, as it has done for over more than 1000 years, to the new monarch.
State trumpeters sounded the royal salute, before the Kings Guard lifted their hats over their shoulders, to give three cheers to their new King at St. James’s Palace, in London on Saturday 10 September 2022.
At one stroke the people of Great Britain become one family from the four corners of this nation, to acknowledge their allegiance to their King. Many had forgotten that the national anthem now demands “God save the King”.
Constitutional Monarchy vs Current Absolute Monarchy?
Most modern kingdoms are considered constitutional monarchies. Monarchs are generally ceremonial heads of state with public responsibilities, with meaningful political authority granted to a Prime Minister or President by a constitution.
Fifteen Governments and 36 nations in the Commonwealth have King Charles III as the reigning monarch and ceremonial Head of State, as in Great Britain.
Absolute monarchies, where the monarch is the final authority are few and far between. There are currently among five including Brunei, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland and Qatar. An absolute monarchy can have a political constitution, with a hereditary Head of State.
Has modernity replaced tradition, call it ritual?
Now as Britons reel from the death of their dearly beloved Queen, her lasting contribution to the nation, the Commonwealth as well as to the world at large, is remembered as the embodiment of both modernity and continuity, in a world of continuous change.
The British monarchy is all about tradition, continuity and the evolution of the style of British democracy over many hundreds or thousands of years.
However, all great institutions have to change to keep in step with the values and aspirations of the people they serve.
Queen Elizabeth’s reign lasted from the industrial age to the internet age, some 70 years of endurance and stoicism in which she graciously helped steer Britain through the loss of its empire and its emergence as a multicultural nation.
Britain is the home to 270 nationalities speaking 300 different languages, foundered on tolerance and respect for difference.
Britain is a global hub for travel and commerce, with nearly 5000 international journalists in London to cover the ceremonial lying of state and funeral of the late Queen.
We are told an estimated 2 billion spectators across the world will see the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, 19 September 2022.
King Charles III is already visiting the realms of the Crown in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, together with his Prime Minister, Liz Truss to meet the people of Great Britain in person.
King Charles III has also anticipated the will of the people and has conferred the title of Prince and Princess of Wales on Prince William and Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge ahead of his own Accession and Coronation. This in itself shows how fast things are moving in His Majesty’s realm.
The buttoned down approach to life in Britain has changed with the consent and cheers of his people, who are no longer considered as subjects of the realm, but participants in the change going forward.