Wearing a heavy crown and shouldering the heavy responsibility of the royal family, Queen Elizabeth II, who has led the United Kingdom and even the Commonwealth for more than half a century, is the most famous representative of the few old aristocrats in the world, and is also a symbol of the United Kingdom. Although she is respected as a monarch by more than ten countries, Queen Elizabeth II has no real power in her hands. Under the constitutional monarchy, she is fixed in the position of an "actor": she cannot show her emotions, and she will always remain neutral - this has also become the life of Queen Elizabeth II keywords.
On December 23, 2021 local time, in London, England, Queen Elizabeth II delivered a Christmas speech. The pictures in this article are all from The Paper
In the world's questioning of the constitutional monarchy and the transition to a republic, the British people still respect the monarch because of Elizabeth II's selfless dedication, but after 100 years of Elizabeth II, What will happen to the constitutional monarchy that has been in place in the UK for more than three centuries? Will her heirs win the love of the British public?
Throne descended from the sky
1926year4moon21rainy night，Queen Elizabeth II was born to her grandparents in London，She is the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York。 According to the line of succession to the throne, the first heir is Prince Albert's brother Edward. As for Prince Albert, he is only the second heir to the throne, and the possibility of inheriting the throne is not high.
Because of this, the young Elizabeth and her sister Rose were able to live an idyllic life in the countryside of Scotland and England. They go to school at home, and the royal family invites governesses to teach French, music and dance. Their parents never ask them to be good in school, but to write neatly and beautifully. In addition, Elizabeth made a reading plan for each day throughout her teenage years. The works of Stevenson, Austin, the Brontë sisters, and Dickens are all under her favorite book list.
However, Elizabeth's uncle, Edward VIII, chose to abdicate for love, which completely changed Elizabeth's fate. On December 10, 1936, King Edward VIII of England wanted to marry a twice-married American woman named Wallis Simpson, when Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin told him: "The Church of England is against Divorce and remarriage, people will not tolerate Simpson being queen." Eventually, Edward VIII abdicated, which made his 41-year-old brother, Prince Albert, Elizabeth's father, unexpectedly crowned king in 1937.
The sudden change of the throne has brought great trouble to the royal family: the incoming King George VI has never been raised as a crown prince, "I never wanted to be a king, I never reviewed government documents, I just A naval officer." The new king suffered from severe stuttering, was slightly weak, and was shy since childhood, making him unsuitable for speeches. Under the weight of the crown, King George VI still shouldered the heavy responsibility. Two years later, when the Second World War broke out, the King's Christmas speech boosted the morale of the British people, which was later adapted into the film "The King's Speech".
When King George VI ascended the throne, his eldest daughter Elizabeth naturally became a "quasi-heir" and should be trained as a crown prince. Therefore, the royal family gradually paid more attention to Elizabeth's schoolwork. The Biography of Queen Elizabeth provides a detailed account of Elizabeth's education: Sir Henry Martin, Deputy Provost of Eton College, developed a comprehensive and in-depth curriculum for Elizabeth in order to teach her "Constitutional Statutes and Customary Law", He also published reading lists such as "British Social History", "The Commonwealth of Empire", "British Constitution", etc., to help Elizabeth accumulate knowledge and understand British politics. elizabeth spentIn 6 years, he completed the study of "Statutory Statutes and Customary Laws of the Constitution", and tried his best to outline and annotate in books, and understand the constitutional government and parliamentary system with the help of Martin. These accumulations have lived up to her, helping her through 14 prime ministers from Churchill to Boris Johnson, surprising them with the sharpness of their issues and their penetrating understanding of difficult laws.
Under the education of her mother, Elizabeth's etiquette class never fell. "Queen Elizabeth Biography" records: The queen told her that a noble lady's back can never be leaned on the back of a chair. According to the wife of the Queen's second prime minister, Elizabeth sits in the chair with her back slightly off the back of the chair, a position she can maintain for hours. The queen also tried to smoothen Elizabeth's somewhat anxious and irritable character: avoid ridicule, no show, soft-spoken and "never yell or frighten", otherwise "you will lose trust", "always remember, control your emotions, and win love. ”
Under the education of the royal family, Elizabeth lived up to her status as a "quasi-heir" and grew into a crown prince who was independent and behaved appropriately and gracefully. When British actress Helen Mirren was preparing for the lead role in "The Queen", she repeatedly watched a film of the Queen when she was eleven or twelve years old, "She got out of a big black car, and a group of tall men came out outside. Greeting her, she held out her hand with a solemn, calm expression, and she knew what to do, and behaved very well."
According to the British historian and biographer Robert Racy, King George VI said: "In her (Elizabeth II), I seem to see the shadow of Queen Victoria (Queen Elizabeth II's great-grandmother, known as the "European grandmother" because of the spread of the European royal family, and the second longest reigning British monarch). I seeuntil a great monarch is born。We don't necessarily need boys to be kings，she will do better。”
Dedication and Service
1939year，Germany blitzes Poland，WWII in fullOutbreak, smoke filled the sky over Europe. In 1940, shortly after the German bombing of the British mainland, Elizabeth and her sister were sent to the small towns and villages around London, along with three million London civilians, mainly children. King George VI's family did not choose to take refuge in other countries, but stayed in London at risk of being bombed, which won them the love of the people of London. The Queen once said: "The children can't live without me, I can't live without the king, and the king will not leave under any circumstances."
On October 13, 1940, in order to appease the restless hearts of the people under the mass migration, the United Kingdom Elizabeth's speech to separated children, when she was just 14, was broadcast on the BBC in her first public address, "Tens of millions of people in this country have had to leave their homes to be with them My sister Margaret Rose and I feel so sorry for you, we understand what it means to be away from someone you love the most. Our true sympathies to you living in your new environment, We also thank those well-meaning people who have embraced you."
During World War II, Elizabeth, like many other young Britons, was eager to make a difference for her country. In 1945, at the age of 19, Elizabeth persuaded her father to allow her direct involvement in assisting the war effort. She then joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service, a rear defense support force that provided critical support during the war, with members serving as anti-aircraft gunners, radio operators, mechanics and drivers. Elizabeth's number in the unit was No. 230873. After six weeks of driving and car repair training, she became the first formally trained car mechanic in the British royal family and was awarded the rank of Honorary Second Lieutenant.
This is the first time Elizabeth has been co-training with other peers. It is said that she liked the experience very much, and it was because of this experience that Elizabeth would later send her children to school instead of letting them study at home as she did when they were young.
After the end of World War II in Europe, during the Victory Day celebrations on May 8, 1945, Elizabeth and her sister Margaret anonymously mingled with the crowd in the streets of London. Elizabeth later said in a rare interview: "We asked my parents if we could go out and see for ourselves. I remember we were terrified of being recognized...I remember rows of people we didn't know walking arm in arm across the white We were all swept away by a wave of happiness and relief in the Hall block (the epicenter of the British government)."
After the war, Elizabeth, who had been in Britain for a long time, began to travel around, devoting herself to diplomacy as a member of the royal family. Work.
During a trip to South Africa in 1947, Elizabeth witnessed the division of a country mired in ethnic conflict,Understand the contradictions and differences between different ethnic groups in South Africa. The trip coincided with Elizabeth's 21st birthday. To celebrate, the South African government declared this day a national holiday and gave her a necklace made of 21 diamonds (South Africa is an important diamond producing area). Elizabeth gave back with a moving speech, paying tribute to the young people who had endured the difficult and glorious World War II like hers. "As long as we walk hand in hand with firm belief, high courage and a peaceful mind, we can make the long-standing Commonwealth of Nations ... carried forward ... a permanent and powerful force in the world."
Make this speech more The classic is the ending, where she says: "I want to make this vow now. My words are very simple, I swear to all of you, I will use my life - no matter how long or short, for You serve, serve our great imperial family."
On February 6, 1952, due to long-term labor and heavy smoking during World War II, George VI died of lung cancer at the age of 56. At that time, Elizabeth was visiting On the way to Kenya, it was her father who had never seen the last face to send her on the plane.
After receiving the news of her father's death, Elizabeth hurriedly returned to her country to take the throne. "Everything was so sudden," Elizabeth recalled 40 years later. "I had to accept the fact that it had come to an end. This was my destiny, and the royal inheritance was the most important thing." Elizabeth's private secretary, Martin Cha Triess said frankly: "Churchill was very impressed by the Queen at that time - she was meticulous, knowledgeable, serious and responsible, and she received prime ministers and ambassadors from all over the world as soon as she took the throne... She did everything flawlessly."
At this point, Elizabeth's life dedicated to the royal family and the United Kingdom officially kicked off.
Data map: British Prince Philip and British Queen Elizabeth II.In the early days of her succession, British domestic public opinion optimistically predicted that a "new Elizabethan period" would come. The grim Cold War situation of the expansion of the Soviet bloc around the world.
In order to cope with these difficulties, Elizabeth tried to maintain the relationship between Britain and its former colonies through the Commonwealth, especially in maintaining the good relations between the United Kingdom and South Africa, and the United Kingdom and India. The Commonwealth was born out of the anti-colonial wave after World War II. At this time, the British Empire gradually disintegrated, and decolonization was achieved by strengthening territorial autonomy, bringing many former colonial countries into the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth consists of dozens of countries related to the UK, including the UK, India, Canada, Australia, etc. The member countries have strong mutual circulation in tourism, study abroad, and trade, but they are only loose in terms of military and diplomacy. alliance. All countries have equal status. It is an international organization that supports cooperation and common values. It connects countries through trade and international cooperation.
Although Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Commonwealth without any real power, she exercises significant influence over the Commonwealth through this position. As former New Zealand Prime Minister David Langey said: “We are fighting, she is uniting.”
Queen Elizabeth II has not broken a promise she made in 1947, she is now 95 years old and has been in power for 69 years. During her time, she made a huge contribution to international solidarity.
On November 3, 2021 local time in London, England, a screen displays a photo of Queen Elizabeth II and a quote from her evening speech at the COP26 meeting. The COP26 climate conference is taking place in the Scottish city of Glasgow until November 12.
Queen Elizabeth II's interpretation of the role of the head of state under a constitutional monarchy is perfect：represent the national image、non-interference in the Prime Minister's policy、Unite the people of the country。
The British media once reported and hyped the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Queen Elizabeth II had different opinions on the South African issue, the British Commonwealth policy, and the overly tough policy in the United Kingdom, and even rumored that the two had a discordant and tit-for-tat relationship. News, such as the fourth season of "The Crown", Thatcher and her husband Dennis visited the Queen's estate in Scotland, expressing their incompatibility with the high-class lifestyle of the royal family: they didn't understand hunting, and they couldn't sleep in two bedrooms separately. Mrs Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson, said in the episode: "They (the nobles) are not elegant, gentlemen or anything special."
However, Mrs Thatcher said: "The two Stories of conflicts between powerful women are well made."
Queen Elizabeth II herself never expressed her views on political matters, with a senior adviser saying: "She never spoke out on sensitive issues. The Queen's friend Lady Angela said:Wang knew from an early age not to be involved in partisan politics, and she would never express her liking or dislike for a political leader. ”
Queen Elizabeth II’s non-interference and non-voicing are also reflected in the family: she never interferes in the internal affairs of her children’s marriage – although this does not seem to be a good thing. In the 1990s, Prince Charles continued to On the news of his feud with Princess Diana after his marriage, "He doesn't talk to me. "Diana complained about Charles' taciturnity, and the Queen was not good at discussing her love life. She firmly believed that everything would pass.
However, the storm did not pass. In 1994, Charles admitted on a TV show that he had an extramarital affair with his first love, Camilla. ; Diana was on live TV, revealing the inside story of the marriage to 23 million people: "There are three people in this marriage, and it's a little crowded. She widened her eyes and laughed softly at herself, and the two eventually divorced in August 1996. Charles' media spokesman Dick said in the documentary "Elizabeth II": "I knew at the time that the marriage was shaky and it was just for the sake of Maintaining the monarchy is just a show. If anyone intends to advise Charles on marriage, they will only get an indifferent squinting from the Queen to let you take care of your own affairs. ”
Data map: Princess Diana.
British royal family tradition requires members to maintain aloofness, dignity, and distance from the public, however, this sense of distance It was shattered by the advent of the Internet age and the attack of the trend of equality. Princess Diana was easy-going and close to the people. She always embraced the people warmly during her tours. She was charming and widely loved by the people. He never takes off his gloves and keeps his distance from others - this is also in stark contrast to the cuteness of Princess Diana that the media is trying to exaggerate. Gradually, the public sees Princess Diana's kindness and sincerity, and gradually regards Diana as her own. The appearance of the princess is regarded as what the entire British royal family should do, which reached its peak in the death of Princess Diana.
In 1997, Diana died in a car accident in France due to avoiding reporters. She has divorced Prince Charles and is not a member of the royal family. Based on royal tradition, the queen has remained silent on the death of her "ex-daughter-in-law". In contrast, the British people have spontaneously held commemorative activities for Princess Diana, and many people came to The last trip to Buckingham Palace for the beloved princess, this situation continued for many days and nights, people asked: "Where have the members of the royal family gone? "On the fourth day after Princess Diana's death, the British media published articles complaining about the silence of the royal family, accusing the royal family of being silent, cruel, and inhumane. The people are extremely dissatisfied with the royal family.
On July 1, 2021, local time, in London, England, British people lay flowers outside Kensington Palace to commemorate the 60th birthday of Princess Diana.
Facing the ever-changing modern society: the growing With the awakening of the media and public opinion, Queen Elizabeth II gradually realized that the tradition should be changed to adapt to the modern trend of thought.
In the end, the Queen left Scotland and returned to London, made Buckingham Palace fly at half-mast, appeared in front of the mourning crowd, and also Speaking on TV against the backdrop of mourning crowds in front of Buckingham Palace, "It's not easy to express pain, because the initial shock is a combination of emotions: doubt, incomprehension, anger. "Now I tell everyone as Queen, grandmother, I salute Diana from the bottom of my heart. I think her life, after her death, will be regretted and missed by the world, and it is worth learning from. rest in peace. "
In the follow-up private visits, the Queen gradually changed the way she communicated with the people. Mary Francis, the Queen's assistant secretary, said: "The Queen has learned a lot from Diana, especially in the new era." way. "
Zhu Lianbi, an associate professor of the Department of History at Fudan University, told The Paper that after the end of World War II, anti-royalty was the mainstream of world politics. "As far as Europe is concerned, there are not many countries that still have a royal family, and the royal family is going The development in the direction of closeness to the people is to step down from the altar and become ordinary people in order to be better accepted, rather than emphasizing the privileges of this group. ”
Post-Queen Constitutional Monarchy
2018year，The Commonwealth held its most significant summit of Commonwealth Heads of Government since its inception at Buckingham Palace, UK（CHOGM），54member countriesThe heads of government have never been so assembled. The meeting was also the last Commonwealth Heads of Government summit she attended as Queen Elizabeth II announced she was too old to fly long distances, and the Queen also raised the issue at this meeting It is hoped that the next head of the Commonwealth will be Prince Charles, which has been unanimously agreed by the heads of the 54 member states.
Although Queen Elizabeth II has won the support of many people of the Commonwealth with her wisdom, as she ages already high, what will happen to the United Kingdom and even the Commonwealth behind her? Which heir can carry the burden of the queen? These have been talked about by observers and the global public more than a decade ago.
On June 22, 2021, local time, in London, England, in the third round of Group D of the Euro 2020, Czech VS England, England fans held up a banner with Queen Elizabeth II's flag cheering.
If talking about the "government method" of a constitutional monarchy is innocuous, then the question that is brought up for discussion whenever the Queen is celebrated is more acute and more realistic: Does modern society still need a constitutional monarchy? ?
While Queen Elizabeth II can generally win popular support for a constitutional monarchy, none of her heirs: Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry (who, along with his wife, Meghan, announced their retirement from the British royal family in 2020), seems to be out of line. Prince Charles has been labelled "scumbag" and "weak" by the media, and the two princes are often involved in tabloid love scandals.
Data map: British Prince Harry and Princess Meghan.
In recent years, constitutional monarchies have had an unstable attitude towards the regime. In Canada and Australia, there has been some discussion on whether to abolish the constitutional monarchy and turn it into a republic. Australia even held a referendum in 1999. The ratio of supporters of the constitutional monarchy to opponents was 55:45, which can be said to be comparable.
As for the United Kingdom itself, public opinion in the country now believes that if it had to be elected, the public would rather Prince William be on the throne than his father, Prince Charles. The Oxford University Debating Society once discussed the necessity of a constitutional monarchy. Opponents believed that the constitutional monarchy was neither democratic nor representative, a product of the old times, and a hotbed of elitism.
Zhu Lianbi pointed out that there have always been anti-monarchy voices in the UK, and many people are disgusted with Charles and the establishment of the royal family, so the UK and other countries with the British monarch as their monarch will gradually tend to be more in line with the times The trend of the republic, "Barbados will be transformed into a republic in 2021 is an example. The republic movement in Australia also has a strong mass base." Indifferent, and the more educated the public, the less interest in the royal family. "The royal family is still an inseparable part of the British constitutional system, but it is not an inseparable part, because the symbolic function is to It is easy to be replaced by others. What the royal family has to do now is not to expose too many scandals that cause public disgust, and at the same time release some positive news to maintain the public’s recognition of the royal family.”
However, the crown princes It seems that people have not yet realized that people's trust in the royal family is the result of the people's will. It is not the blood of Queen Elizabeth II flowing in the body that can inevitably and easily inherit the throne and the love of the people. "You must choose the heir to the throne carefully. If you choose the wrong one, it will directly lead to the downfall of the entire royal family." Katie, editor of the British "Sunday Mail", said, "Unless the people truly support you, there is no need to reserve the monarchy, especially It's a situation where taxpayers spend $80 million a year to maintain the royal family."
Local time on March 29, 2017, Berkshire, England, Queen Elizabeth II in Windsor Castle on horseback.
"Prince Charles may end up on the throne, but without popular support, his ouster will spell the end of the monarchy," said human rights activist Pete Tachel.
Zhu Lianbi believes that after the death of Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II in 2021, reports related to his death have occupied a large number of news pages, which has caused dissatisfaction among some people who believe that the British government's negligence has caused a large number of elderly people to live in The news of the death during the new crown epidemic has not been seen in the newspapers, but his attention has to be filled with the news of the death of a pampered nobleman, "For many people who are not interested in the royal family, these news are meaningless and even cause disgust. ”
On December 25, 2021, local time, Windsor Castle, England, members of the British royal family are spending a different Christmas: on the Windsor side, Prince Charles is leading the The core royal family attends church mass and will then have a dinner with her mother, Queen Elizabeth II; on the other hand, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are taking their three children and Kate's parents for the holiday in Norfolk.
"Because the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, if you change a monarch, as long as the monarch can continue to do so, there will be no essential change. As far as the royal family is concerned, from Prince Harry's withdrawal from the royal family It can be seen that the division of the royal familyDisagreement exists, especially this kind of disagreement directly points to the defects and problems of the establishment of the royal family. Therefore, the cohesion within the royal family will indeed weaken after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. cohesion is also weakening. "Zhu Lianbi said," However, as long as there is a new suitable candidate, the British royal family will continue to operate according to the existing functions. ”
On October 7, 2021 local time, London, England, the launching ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games torch relay was held outside Buckingham Palace.(This article is from The Paper, For more original information, please download "The Paper" APP)