England’s financial woes wait while the nation mourns Queen Elizabeth II, who died today at age 96 after a reign of 70 years.
Princess Elizabeth acceded to the thrown on February 6, 1952, following the premature death of her father, who had taken the thrown after his brother abdicated the post so that he could marry an American woman.
Queen Elizabeth II provided some permanence and historical significance to the country in a time of shifting cultural values and during a period when the empire reduced in size, as commonwealth nations forced their way into independence.
Though her role is largely ceremonial, her stature, endurance, and wisdom allowed her to influence prime ministers from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss, who assumed the role on Tuesday.
Why it’s important
As head of state for seven decades, she has been a player during a remarkable time in human history. She has had 15 British prime ministers and more than 100 in nations part of the commonwealth. There have been 14 U.S. presidents during her time as queen, having met them all except President Lyndon Johnson.
Britain is currently undergoing major turmoil—it has yet to secure its place after exiting the European Union as a result of Brexit, unsure of how its economic future will play out. Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson just resigned under scandal. Inflation is a high 10% and growing. It is feeling a major energy crunch, with high temperatures pulling at the system and less supply getting to the island nation because of the war in Ukraine. The new prime minister just announced energy price caps.
The queen seemed to single-handedly hold the nation together, during times of distress, as people saw her as a bridge to England’s great and mighty past as an empire.
Now as the nation moves forward with King Charles on the throne and Liz Truss as head of government, it charts a totally new path into a future that’s moving faster than ever.