Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest reigning monarch, has died at the age of 96. The royal’s eldest son is set to succeed, taking the name King Charles III.Across the UK a period of national mourning has started, with Sky News reporting it will likely last for 10 days.World leaders have rushed to express their condolences, with US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and EU chief Charles Michel being among the first.Charles, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and her late husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has become King. Queen Elizabeth II leaves behind four children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.Sputnik spoke with Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills, founder and director of the British Monarchists Society, president of the Centre for British Royal Studies and editor-in-chief of Crown & Country Magazine, about the role the monarch had on the nation and the legacy she leaves behind.
Sputnik: What now? What does Queen Elizabeth’s rule mean for Britain’s sense of self? How important was the Queen’s personality? What has she changed in the perception of the Royal family? What was so special about her?
Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills: What now is that the Queen is dead, long live the King. This is the continuity. This is the crown and how it survives. So what we will see that we haven’t seen in 69 years is a new coronation. But what we’re seeing now that we haven’t seen in 70 years is a change of monarch. The second Elizabethan era is now over. And what we can expect is King Charles, the new king, depending on how he wants to be known as he will have to now no longer be political and have political aspirations. He will have to step down from a lot of what he does with his charities because now he is the king, he is the crown, he is the figurehead of this nation. And the government will also now have to change as well because it will no longer be Her Majesty’s Government. It is His Majesty’s Government. And that’s so important to remember.
WorldTruss Calls Queen Elizabeth II ‘Spirit of Britain’ as Tributes Pour In From World LeadersYesterday, 18:10 GMTSo we’re watching the crowds gather in front of Buckingham Palace. People will start paying their respects, lighting candles, and laying flowers. Queen Elizabeth’s reign has been an era. We’ve learnt so much, we’ve seen so much. We’ve all grown together. And she is the only sovereign that most of this nation, actually most of the realms in the world has known. And her style of reign was about selfless duty. It was about serving others. A deeply religious woman, she always put her fellow man first, and we saw that through every ounce of her reign.The Queen’s personality, for as much as people have said, well, the Queen, she never smiled, any of that – the biggest fallacy we’ve ever known. The Queen always showed her personality. She was always delighted with things. She was always very sympathetic to people. We knew that with the Queen, there was continuity. We had an example. She was able to carry the nation through times of deep sorrow and sadness and tragedy, but also celebrate in times of winning and saying, ‘hey, we’ve won this’ or ‘the Olympics are here and this is great.’ And we saw the funny side of the Queen many times, not only during the Olympic Games of 2012 when she jumped out of the helicopter, but also just a few months ago at the platinum jubilee where she sat and had tea with Paddington Bear. Those are the special moments of the Queen’s reign, showing her as a human, showing her personality as being fun and daring and wanting to do different things. So as much as we knew that the Queen was going to be a constant and steady in life, she was still always able to surprise us up until the end.
WorldA Look Back on the Life of Longest-Reigning UK Monarch, Queen Elizabeth IIYesterday, 17:35 GMTSputnik: She was one of the longest-serving monarchs – what is her input into what the British nation is?Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills: The Queen, of course, is the nation’s longest-serving monarch, but not only of the United Kingdom. She is the longest reigning sovereign of 15 nations in total. This is someone who built the Commonwealth.
Her legacy is the 54 Commonwealth of Nations, 54 countries that make up the Commonwealth of Nations. So her input into what Britain is, her input into how Britain is perceived in the world and her input into those other nations of which she is head of state – she is intertwined with that. She is the person who rightfully defines Britishism.
This country looks to her. Her nations look to her. Her people have always looked to her. The 2.6 billion people of the Commonwealth have looked to her, but also countries that are republics such as France, such as the United States. They’ve always had an affinity with Queen Elizabeth II because she’s the only British monarch they have known as well. And people have always turned to her as an example. And this is what makes this loss so profound for the nation. There will never be another Elizabeth. They will never be another one like her because with her goes the era of service, of duty first, of crown before family, duty before self. And even though we want to say future monarchs will be the same, these future kings that will be coming down the line don’t have that extra special sort of pizazz that Her Majesty had. A young princess when she became queen, someone who served in the armed forces during World War II, someone who knew what it was like to be rationed, to go without, to be in solidarity with her people in the early part of her reign, someone who’s seen technological change, who has lived through seven decades of political strife, turmoil, anything you could throw at this woman, she handled with dignity. She handled it with confidence, and she had to because her people around the world were counting on her. She’s been an example.Sputnik: How will her passing change the attitude towards monarchy?Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills: This country loves its monarchy. It always has. The lifeblood of Britain is the monarchy, the royal family, and the heart of this country. And her passing will, of course, change a lot of perceptions about the monarchy, because we’re going to see a very different monarchy evolve now that King Charles has come to the throne. There will be lessons learnt that she provided, such as dealing with prime ministers, such as how she was able to handle the crisis during Diana Princess of Wales’ death. But the attitude towards the monarchy will not falter. People love the monarchy and they will take to the new King just as much as they took to the Queen 70 years ago. And that’s so important because the Queen left the crown better than when she received it. The monarchy is more stable than when she inherited it. And this is the importance, it is that over the course of her reign since Prince Charles has been Prince of Wales, he’s had the best teacher. He’s waited his entire life to undertake the duties of his new job description. And his being a good king will be the result of what the Queen has taught him. No one could be better prepared for the job of a monarch than Prince Charles, and that’s down to the teachings, the style and the example left by his mother.Sputnik: Royal author Catherine Pepinster has said “the tectonic plates are shifting” and that the UK is on the “cusp of a new era” – what will this new era be like?Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills: Yes, the United Kingdom is on the dawn of a new era because the Elizabethan era is now over. We’re going to see the changing face of the monarchy. We’re going to see a slimmed-down version of the monarchy exactly as Prince Charles wants it. And now when we look at the line of succession, it is very male-dominated again. It will be decades and decades before we see possibly another queen. It depends on whether Prince George has a daughter first or a son. So the days of a queen on the throne are over. In the United Kingdom, it’s no longer a woman’s world, as it has been for the last 70 years, with the Queen at the head.Of course, we will now have a change with the Church of England. We will have a change of government because it’s now His Majesty’s government. There’s a lot of changes that are coming, but a lot of people who are not still so accepting of Prince Charles, now King Charles, there will be a push amongst other countries for a republic. This is the perfect opportunity for republicans to really start piping up with their drivel and saying, now is the time for change because people don’t like Charles, which is a fallacy. People love Prince Charles, King Charles, and they will do what they have to do to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible because we could never imagine the United Kingdom without the word kingdom. And that’s so important. The four countries of this kingdom will always, always take to its crown. We tried a republic years ago under Oliver Cromwell, and we didn’t wear it. It didn’t take well. The people did not want it. And they reverted to monarchism with the return of Charles the second. So the republic didn’t work very well for the United Kingdom. And I don’t think it will ever work well because the crown is so deeply rooted in the everyday life of the British people.Sputnik: What kind of king will King Charles be? What events shaped him, in your view?Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills: King Charles III is going to be a king that will institute change. He’s always liked change. He’s always bucked the trend, if you will. He’s going to change the monarchy from how we see a large family to now a more streamlined royal family. He’s going to be a great king. He champions all the causes of the modern day. And he started doing that before it was even popular. People used to make fun of him when he was the prince of Wales with his organics and all of his flowers and biodiesel and all of that. Well, the King is having the last laugh now, because what he’s been doing for decades before it was popular is what the world is now doing. So he was an original pioneer of a lot of the things that we’re starting to turn to save our planet and save ourselves.
WorldOperation Unicorn: Here’s What Happens Now That Queen Elizabeth Has Passed AwayYesterday, 16:59 GMTOf course, one of the biggest events in his life was his divorce from Diana, Princess of Wales. But a lot shaped him. Even before Diana was on the scene, he was always someone who did his duty to crown and country, to Queen and country. The services shaped him. Being in the Air Force and all the branches of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces at that time definitely impressed upon him. So when we look at other things that have transpired throughout history, even in his own personal life, when he was able to finally marry his true love – that shaped him, we’re looking at a very happy person. Overall, he’s lived a very happy life since he’s been with the Queen Consort, his wife, Camilla. And with her by his side, he’s going to continue to have the strength, the support and the happiness which he needs to make him the best king he can be.Effective, fun-loving. We get to see his personality. We know who he is. We know the king that we have now got on the throne. So there’s so much in his life that has shaped him. There’s so much good and bad. And one of the most important events of his life is when Lord Mountbatten of Burma was assassinated by the IRA, and his confidant, if you will, just was taken away from him, the person he could go to out of his entire family, no matter what, was taken away from him at such a young age. And that really does something to people. But he was able to come back from that. Of course, there was sorrow, but that is one of the main events in his young adult life that really shaped him because it showed him the dangers, the true danger of what being a member of the royal family was and is. So he’s always going to remember that. He’s always going to have examples throughout his life that have helped him grow for the better.