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Elizabeth II, a figure of stability in the face of political upheavals

Posted 4 Feb. 2022 at 7:00 amUpdated 4 Feb. 2022 at 8:46

“This Sunday, Her Majesty The Queen will become the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. The tribute paid by Boris Johnson on Wednesday at the opening of a new agitated session in parliament constitutes a rare moment of unity and respite, in an England again crossed by political upheavals. On February 6, it will be precisely 70 years since Elizabeth II acceded to the throne, fifteen months before her coronation at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.

This date marks both her accession to the throne, at the age of 25, but also the death of her father, to whom she was very attached, so that the festivities planned for the jubilee will wait until June. The British will exceptionally be entitled to two days of “bank holidays” on this occasion to celebrate this longevity record never reached for a living sovereign. Ten years after its diamond jubilee which had already brought together more than 8.5 million Britons. If the Queen remains on the throne until the summer of 2024, she will sign the longest reign in history, thus exceeding the 72-year record of… Louis XIV.

Fourteen prime ministers

Elizabeth II has so far known fourteen Prime Ministers, from Winston Churchill to Boris Johnson, with whom she will have held her weekly meetings. Even if she never intervenes in the management of the country, her diplomatic visits often have a strong symbolism, as in this month of May 2011 when she is the first British monarch for a century to visit Ireland, a strong sign of reconciliation. .

VIDEO – 70 years of reign: the life of Elizabeth II in pictures

She will have seen her country join and then leave the European project, without letting her feelings about Brexit show through. During her coronation in 1953, she inaugurated the world’s first live broadcast, then experienced all the changes in modern communication, until she opened her Twitter account… and started videoconferencing during the pandemic.

Noted appearances

His public appearances, less and less frequent for health reasons, remain very noticed and his television appearances still attract as many viewers. Nearly 9 million people followed her last Christmas speech, where she shared her pain of experiencing the end of year celebrations for the first time without her husband.

When the pandemic arrived, it posed as a quiet force, all dressed in green – the color of hope – in the face of the British tested by confinement and this sad record of the number of deaths in Europe. A speech heard by 24 million people.

Exemplary during the pandemic

The exemplary attitude of his attitude during the pandemic, out of step with the echoes of parties and rallies in Downing Street, further reinforces this image of a figure of stability in the political landscape. So far, the highlight of this “partygate” has undoubtedly been these newspaper front pages announcing that a party had taken place the day before the funeral of Prince Philippe, contrasting with the image of Elizabeth II alone on her bench on the day of the funeral.

Since the horrors of the “annus horribilis”, this year 1992 marked by private scandals and the fire of Windsor, the Queen has regained such popularity that 80% of Britons have a positive opinion of her today, according to the latest Yougov poll. Sometimes perceived as outdated abroad, this monarchy still has the support of 61% of the British.

Clouds on the horizon

But this erodes over the generations. 81% of those over 65 subscribe to this plan, compared to 31% among 18-24 year olds. Thus young people are more likely (41%) to prefer an elected head of state. This is undoubtedly the main challenge for Elizabeth II, especially since her son Charles, who should logically succeed her, is much less popular. Only 54% of Britons have a positive image of him.

Several clouds on the horizon threaten to darken the festivities of this jubilee. First there is the prospect of a trial in New York of his son, Prince Andrew, accused of sexual assault on a minor, allegedly brought to him by pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. For this reason, Elizabeth II has just withdrawn her military titles and patronage, preventing her from returning to public life. Not to mention the expected release in the fall of Prince Harry’s book, in which the Duke of Sussex has promised an “utterly true and faithful” account of his life so far. Something to make Buckingham Palace still tremble.

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