It has been an eventful week for the British. First, Liz Truss became Prime Minister following the resignation of Boris Johnson. Second, Queen Elizabeth II died at age 96, and will be succeeded by Charles III. Truss will be the third woman to serve as Britain’s Prime Minister, while Elizabeth II was Queen for 70 years, as well as being Britain’s longest reigning monarch.
In May 1997, Tony Blair became Prime Minister, thus succeeding John Major. In August of that year, Lady Diana (ex-wife of Prince Charles) was killed in a car crash in Paris. Her death shocked the world and brought the topic of the paparazzi invading the privacy of celebrities into the spotlight. But perhaps more important, it was a jolt for the Royal Family, considering the marriage of Charles and Diana had ended in divorce due to Charles’s infidelities. There was even speculation that the Royal Family was indifferent to the tragedy (since they viewed her death as a private matter and not a royal death since she was no longer a princess), leading for calls by some British citizens to dump the monarchy. Such views are expressed in the 2006 film The Queen, in which Tony Blair convinces the Queen to properly pay her respects to Diana and thus earn the respect of her people.
In a way, history has repeated itself, because twenty-five years ago Tony Blair became Prime Minister and Lady Diana was killed in a car crash. This year, Liz Truss became Prime Minister and Queen Elizabeth II died.
One particular aspect of Elizabeth II’s reign was the decolonization within the British Empire, in which over twenty nations gained their independence. Such nations include Pakistan, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, and Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) — all of which became hotspots for dictatorships and/or Islamic terrorism. So one has to wonder how things might have turned out if these nations (among others) continued to be part of the British Empire.
Like other European nations, Britain also experienced the emergence of political correctness during the reign of Elizabeth II, as well as the influx of migrants from Muslim countries, some of whom have caused havoc in Britain (e.g. child sex grooming gangs). And of course, the reign of Elizabeth II witnessed scandals, such as Prince Charles’s affair and Prince Harry renouncing his title (most likely due to the urging of his wife Meghan Markle).
But despite these negative aspects, Elizabeth II was a devout Christian and a defender of the faith. She took a stance against Nazi Germany prior to becoming queen and stood alongside Margaret Thatcher in bringing an end to the Cold War.
In all, Elizabeth II has been an icon among the British.
How will things turn out under Charles III and Prime Minister Liz Truss? Only time will tell.