Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Operation London Bridge Executed - Queen Elizabeth II 1926 - 2022

Queen Elizabeth II was constitutional monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and was arguably the most famous 'next door neighbour' to everyone else on this island. While she was 96 upon her death on Thursday, it came as a surprise to many due to the fact that she had only appointed a new Prime Minister a mere two days previous. While it may have been accepted due to biology that she had not a great deal of time left, it is nonetheless strange for anyone born in the 1950's or later as they have never been aware of any other monarch of the UK.

PrincessElizabeth had honorary military titles but in 1945, she was appointed an honorary officer in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (left) and trained as a driver and mechanic. She became Queen in February 1952 following the death of King George VI and reigned for more than 70 years, the longest of any British monarch and the longest recorded of any female head of state in history. Elizabeth II reigned through significant political changes marked by the Troubles in Northern Ireland, devolution in the United Kingdom, the decolonisation of Africa, and the United Kingdom's accession to the European Communities and more recent withdrawal from the European Union. 

As former British territories such as India gained independence and some realms became republics over her many years, Elizabeth II's territories ultimately shrunk in size. She travelled to China, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, and the Republic of Ireland in some of her historic visits. She was politically neutral and performed acts which were designed to widen the gap between the monarchy and the government so that the monarchy would have no political, only ceremonial role. Once such act was appointing an elected conservative party leader and not one based on advice given to her.

As well as being Queen, she was also a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and even great-grandmother. Such was the devotion to her family was that she sought to replace the term 'monarchy' with 'the Royal Family' which gained traction in the press and is one of the most successful rebranding examples in history. 

Operation London Bridge is the codename of the British government's plan for protocols to be followed in the event of the Queen's death. It went through many iterations over the decades and was the subject of extensive leaks in the U.K. media in that time. Sadly it began to be executed on Thursday September 8th 2022 before 18:30 BST when the world was informed she had passed.

A few short years before becoming Queen, Elizabeth II promised the British public “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.” Her life was long and she did indeed keep her word. May she rest in peace.

No comments: