Queen Elizabeth II’s service as Britain’s longest-reigning monarch meant a lot to her subjects around the world, and she came along at the right time in history.
That’s according to UCSB history professor Erika Rappaport, who noted the queen’s longevity brought a sense of stability to Britain, especially during crises. Her Majesty served as queen from 1952 to her death on Thursday.
“Ironically, this sense of stability occurred during a time when the state and population of Britain changed dramatically,” Dr. Rappaport, who has taught classes about 19th- and 20th-century Britain, told the News-Press in an email. “During her reign, she oversaw the transition of the nation from a world empire to a European state; and, now since Brexit, its future is still unclear.”
“It is important to remember that she was the head of state for many, but not all nations, in the Commonwealth, so people around the world will be mourning her passing,” Dr. Rappaport said. “Theoretically, the monarchy is a glue that holds this loose body together, but as I noted several Commonwealth nations, such as India, have become republics.”
“When she came to the throne, she was lauded for being a young, innocent princess who would restore Britain’s global power and inaugurate a new ‘Elizabethan’ age,” Dr. Rappaort told the News-Press. “That didn’t happen, of course, but she ensured that many around the world would learn about and appreciate British culture since that time.”
The professor also noted that as a much-beloved monarch, the queen benefitted Britain’s tourist industry and economy.
She added that Americans can learn from the example set by the queen and her family. “Well, many Americans might well emulate the royal family’s humanitarianism and its respect for history and tradition.”
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