Queen Elizabeth II died Sept. 8. The world has been mourning her loss for the past couple weeks, but a large population has started asking the question: Why is the monarchy still relevant in 2022?
In 2021, the crown brought in $120 million from taxes paid by British residents. Why? Yes, the queen meets with other heads of state, but that could be done by an elected official. In fact, every duty undertaken by the monarchy could, arguably, be carried out by some elected official.
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, in which Parliament passes actual laws and executive actions. You could say that within Parliament, the royal family has a say on who is in the House of Lords, but again: Why? Shouldn’t the world be moving away from plutocratic political appointments in favor of adhering to the will of the public? Do we still actually believe that winning the birth lottery qualifies someone for — as Monty Python called it — “supreme executive power”?
For several weeks now, mentions and references to the queen have been everywhere: the news, social media and tabloids. Some of us are asking ourselves just how much we — as Americans — are supposed to grieve for the figurehead’s death.
Some of those who maintain an apathetic stance make the argument that her death is a symbolic end to the era of colonialism. In countries such as India, which during the queen’s lifetime was under British rule, there were groups celebrating in the streets. Other nations are grieving as though their own leader has died, dedicating broadcasts and magazine spreads to her life and legacy.
Opinions on the monarchy notwithstanding, Elizabeth of Windsor — as a person — deserves respect in her time of passing. She broke barriers as a woman in power during her reign. She oversaw the UK through turmoil – even though most of that turmoil was the fault of the UK. She also convinced Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Parliament to act during World War II, arguably saving the world from Axis rule.
That said, don’t be surprised if you are greeted with more apathy than sympathy when lamenting how sad the queen’s passing was. She lived a very full life, full of triumph and controversy, and at the end of the day, we at The Jambar will remember her most fondly for her silly hats.
From her wildly colorful outfits to her greetings with international officials that have turned heads for years, the queen will be remembered. For better or worse.