The Queen at 80

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is 80 today. This loyal subject and ardent monarchist would like to wish Her Majesty many happy returns.

I am a big fan of the constitutional monarch, the symbolic, apolitical head of state. To those republicans in the UK who want a president I have two words: Jacques Chirac. Something about the fact that Tony Blair has to bow before the monarch every week is pleasing to me. That, and the reminder he receives that there are things more permanent than him (the Queen has been receiving Prime Ministers since Churchill).

But in a real sense, Elizabeth R is not just the monarch, she’s the monarchy. The British monarchy will survive under Kings Charles and William, but I suspect that the Commonwealth will struggle to find relevance after Elizabeth. The Queen has been the warm face of imperial transition; once she has gone, I think the Empire, and any of its residual institutions will finally be dead. No bad thing maybe. In the meantime, God save the Queen.



  1. I think the question of what do we replace the monarch with is tough one and the likes of Chirac and Bush certainly question that role. What about combining the role of PM (executive role) and head of state (figurehead)? The Russian president seems to be this; he has political power and he represents his country. After ER-II we should certainly consider a change, but will we get a say..?


  2. Butteray,Aren’t Bush and Chirac exactly what you are proposing, political heads of state? What do we replace the monarch with? Nothing. We keep the monarchy. But we should not be surprised if Canada and Australia break their ties.


  3. Fair point ronan, but The UK monarch has so little real power the position seems irrelevant, although in some the current heir (Charles) seems to exert considerable influence. It seems however most people dislike charles getting involved in issues of the day. I think a more serious point against the monarchy is that a person of some influence or power can be ‘elected’ by birth; this does not happen in any walk of life I can think of. Selection by birth does not give you ‘the bext man for the job’ and is contra to our free society in which anyone with ability can in theory rise to the top.


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