When the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations begin in Great Britain on Thursday, the world will admire the uniqueness of this incredibly long reign: the sheer fact that Queen Elizabeth II is still in office, after 70 years, at 96 years! Her followers agree: this woman is irreplaceable. And even people who consider the monarchy as a whole to be the plush of civilization can’t help but respect the Queen personally. Many people, whether they are for or against the monarchy, believe that nobody can come after the Queen who would be able to fulfill her role like her.
Last year, the Queen became a widow, she now walks more often on the stick and can be represented at appointments. With almost macabre regularity, media houses accidentally published their prepared obituaries. Thinking of the Queen is anticipating the approaching end of her reign. And so voices are raised as to whether her death, which unfortunately will come at some point, would not be a good opportunity to abolish the monarchy as a whole.
However, replaceability is the principle of succession to the throne. Since Elizabeth realized at the age of eleven that the crown would become her life’s work, she has worked towards becoming not irreplaceable but a link in a chain. To prove yourself worthy of this chain of crowned ones, as part of something greater.
Since her uncle King Edward abdicated in 1936 because he would rather marry the divorced American Wallis Simpson than determine the fate of England, since that is why his brother George, her father, had to become king, Elizabeth is said to have carried this terror with her that the entire monarchy could be endangered by personal weakness. Her answer was not to allow herself any personal weaknesses. Never. Instead mandatory.
And so, since her coronation in 1952 at the age of 25, Elizabeth II has placed office above her person, duty above pleasure, the needs of the country above those of her family. Some say she overdid it. The two generations after her, this strictness was often bitterly upset, in this family in which everything is designed to last. And where anything that might jeopardize that goal is kept at a distance: Diana, Harry, Andrew.
In the age of mass consumption, dedicated to the individual pursuit of happiness, the cumbersome uniqueness of the “company” weighs all the more heavily. In the aftershocks of Brexit, politicians had to realize that they had a dead horse with the much-cited Empire. But the monarchy that lived. It is now the taproot that reaches back to imperial times, down to the aquifers, where it now draws nourishment from history for the present. For the feeling of identity and continuity.
There were queens in England – women always were – after whom ages have been named, there is the Elizabethan and the Victorian. Queens were the ones who must have seemed as irreplaceable in their day as Elizabeth does today. But all rulers only borrowed the crown jewels from their children. Their main task is to preserve the form. If you manage to keep the form, you will find the content.