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The British Monarchy Lives On!



Thursday 8th September 2022 is a date which will be recorded in world history forever.


It was the day that Queen Elizabeth died, aged 96, at her beloved Balmoral Castle, after reigning for more than 70 years.


Speaking in the Scottish Parliament on Monday 12 September 2022, King Charles paid tribute:


Through all the years of her reign, the Queen like so many generations of our family before her, found in the hills of this land and in the hearts of its people, a haven and a home. If I might paraphrase the words of the great Robert Burns, my dear mother was a friend of man, a friend of truth, a friend of age and guide of youth. Few hearts like hers, with virtue warmed, few heads with knowledge so informed. [1]


Journalist Emma Cowing quoted the Queen saying of Balmoral: "I think it has an atmosphere of its own. You just hibernate; but it's rather nice to hibernate for a bit when one lives such a very movable life."


She also quoted a Burns poem which had been left outside Balmoral:


Farewell to the mountains, high cover'd with snow,

farewell to the straths and green valleys below.

My heart's in the Highlands werev'r I go.

My heart's in the Highlands, farewell. [2]


So it seems right that she would die in what was believed to be her favourite home.


Perhaps that was a sign that the United Kingdom is precious. It is something that can't just be explained by the head, but it is also something that many of us feel in our hearts.


THE QUEEN'S GIFT to the UNITED KINGDOM

Indeed, in her last act, she left us a wonderful gift.


The Queen would have had access to the funeral plans which would explain what would happen if she died in a particular part of the United Kingdom, or indeed the world.


She, who was very conscious of the Scottish roots of the British monarchy, her own personal connection to Scotland (her maternal grandparents were the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne), and her own love of the land, would not have wanted the ceremony to be confined only to London.


After all, if the Queen had died in London, then quite understandably everything would simply be London-based.


There would have been no UK-wide spectacle for the world to see.


Instead, look at what we got! Of the 10-day mourning period before the funeral on Monday 19th, a full half of that time, 5 days were spent in Scotland, from the afternoon of Thursday 9th to the evening of Tuesday 13th.


Thousands of people lined the route of the cortege carrying the Queen from Balmoral to St Giles; and a vast queue (over 33,000) lined up outside St Giles from Monday 12th and all through the night until the afternoon of Tuesday, to pay respects to Her Majesty, who was Lying in State.


A Force For Good paid our respects on Tuesday 13th and we produced this live 40-minute broadcast on the day, which also shows the entire queue in the morning:



Perhaps this was the Queen's final gift to the United Kingdom.


Her death has enabled the Scottishness of the monarchy to be on display to the world, in a way which has been unique in the history of the British monarchy.


It was a huge "teaching moment" and a "learning moment", as the modern phrases have it.


The Queen, in her death, has enabled the monarchy in Scotland and throughout the United Kingdom to be strengthened. And hopefully also throughout the other 31 Realms, Territories and Dependencies of which Charles is also King – that is, throughout the 14 Commonwealth Realms, the 14 British Overseas Territories, and the 3 Crown Dependencies of the Isle of Mann, Guernsey and Jersey. [4]


Eddie Barnes summed up this thought:


the momentous events of the past week, and the passing of the Queen, serve to further underline the point that the tightly-bound nationalist depiction of Scotland's past, present, and future just doesn't connect with our reality.


Did the Queen want to make this point? I can't be alone in wondering whether her death in Scotland was somehow almost fated.


For it feels to me that in dying here, at her beloved Balmoral, the greatest communicator of our times – the woman who mastered the art of telling nothing but saying everything – wanted still, in death, to teach us a fuller and richer story about our land...


To Scotland, she has reminded us that our politics only explains a fraction of our traditions, our inheritance and our culture...


The late Queen and the new King, who have travelled further and deeper into this land that most of us, have done more than anyone to tell this deeper, more complex story of our land. [3]


THE QUEEN'S SERVICE to HISTORY

The Queen passed away just two days after she had appointed her fifteenth Prime Minister – and the first British Prime Minister to be appointed in Scotland since Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Lord Salisbury, in 1885.


[We like the idea of appointing Prime Ministers around the country instead of having all the action based in London! It fits nicely into our Do More Together policy theme.]


Her first Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was born in 1874, and her last, Liz Truss was born 101 years later in 1975. Put another way, the Queen died 148 years after the birth of her first Prime Minister!


The Queen is also the first monarch to die in Scotland since James V in 1542, which was before the Union of the Crowns.


This summer, at our "Bruce to Elizabeth: Our Great British Monarchy" Celebration Rally in Stirling on 25 June (pictured) we pointed out the direct descent of Her Majesty and her family, through the Stuart Kings and Queens, right back to Robert the Bruce. We also detailed this Family Tree in the Platinum Jubilee Edition of our magazine.



We are so thankful and proud of all our people who were with us in our celebration in Stirling, and who manned our Jubilee Street Stalls in 2022, and all those who support us and made possible our Jubilee activism.


Frank Furedi made a vital point about "The Queen's Service to History":


The possession of a sense of the past was, and still ought to be…an 'actual faculty of the mind, "a sixth sense"'.


This doesn't mean obsessively looking back towards a distant land. Rather, it is the process by which one becomes conscious of history and one's place in it and develops a sense of historical continuity.


Queen Elizabeth II, in Britain at least, came to embody this sense of historical continuity. As Britain's longest serving monarch, she successfully personified the connection between the nation's past and present.


In doing so, she came to play the role of a countercultural monarch. Her values and her behaviour reminded British society of a very different world to the one being promoted by the media and other cultural institutions. In some ways, this was the source of her popularity and moral authority. She made people feel good about who they were and instilled pride about the British way of life.


Despite her refusal to play the celebrity game or 'modernise' her behaviour and image, she continued to successfully symbolise the British nation.


At a time when Britain's elites wilfully alienated themselves from the nation's past, Elizabeth stood apart. Through her words and behaviour, she never let people forget that, on balance, Britain's historical achievements should be seen as a source of pride.


This was a remarkable achievement. In a world in which Britishness has become a constant target of anti-patriotic ideologues, she steadfastly affirmed it as something of which we can be proud. Almost single-handedly, this historical queen ensured that the thread that connects Britain to its past remains intact. She will be missed. [5]


THE QUEEN DIES but the UNITED KINGDOM LIVES ON and a NEW HAND TAKES THE WHEEL OF STATE

Charles becomes the oldest British monarch at the start of his reign (73 years, 298 days). Previously, William IV – who became King at 64 years, 308 days, held this record since 1830. Camilla becomes the oldest-ever Queen Consort (75 years, 53 days) at the start of her King's reign.


Charles is the first monarch to accede to the throne while in Scotland, since James VI acceded to the Scottish throne on 24 July 1567, and then the English throne on 24 March 1603 – which brought about what is known as the Union of the Crowns, and which created a new realm of Great Britain.


He had been staying at Dumfries House when he was helicoptered to be at his mother's side.


Queen Elizabeth herself acceded to the throne while she was in Kenya.


As it happens the Union of the Crowns will be 420 years old in 2023 – the year when Charles III will be crowned King of the United Kingdom and his other Realms and Territories over the seas.


There's a pleasing poetry to that!


And Charles should know that he has vast support throughout the United Kingdom and the world.


Earlier in 2022, at the time of the Platinum Jubilee Celebration, Tony Abbott, the former Prime Minister of Australia wrote:


The Crown is more than the individual who wears it. It's more than any of the countries that share it.

It's an institution that spans continents and centuries. It's a link to our best ideals.


And it perfectly reflects Burke's notion of society as a compact between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are yet to be born.


Not only has the Queen's reign been such a model of endeavour and achievement that no country on earth would not be proud to have such a head of state, to tamper with our limited, self-effacing, democratic and constitutional monarchy would be an act of institutional vandalism, of cultural amnesia on an epic scale.


I doubt that a new reign will be quite the constitutional watershed that some people fear (or hope). Prince Charles has been an activist heir. Still, his practical environmentalism on his own estates and his obvious striving for what is true, beautiful and good is wholly admirable.


As King, he'll very much be his mother's son; and, like his mother, his seeming permanence will be a comfort in a changing world. [6]


In her Golden Jubilee Message of 2002, the Queen said: "I believe that, young or old, we have as much to look forward to with confidence and hope as we have to look back on with pride."


As one chapter in the British Story closes, another opens...and the British Monarchy lives on!


GOD SAVE THE KING!


Notes:

1. From "Epitaph on my own Friend".

2. Scottish Daily Mail, 10-9-22, p.37.

3. Eddie Barnes, "BBC got it so right on the pageantry, but so very wrong on the politics", Scottish Daily Mail, 14-9-22, pp.26-27.

4. In the latter, the King is also known as the Lord of Mann, and Duke of Normandy respectively.

5. Frank Furedi, "The Queen's Service to History", spiked-online, 19-9-22.

spiked-online.com/2022/09/19/the-queens-service-to-history

6. Tony Abbott, "Australia is stronger thanks to the monarchy", The Daily Telegraph, 4-6-22, p.23.



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