The end of an era

Queen Elizabeth II showed incredible dedication through her 70 years of service. Her passing represents the end of an era, and reminds us of how much we have changed.

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II has brought about mixed feelings across the Commonwealth – and social media platforms. From a First Nations’ NRLW star celebrating the news in an Instagram post, to heartfelt memes of Lilibet and Phillip reunited, there’s a clear division in how her subjects view Her Majesty’s death.

It seems, however, that many have conflated their feelings for the Monarch with their feelings for the monarchy, and colonialism in general. As the figurehead of the British Empire, this is understandable, but perhaps not all of colonialism’s crimes can be laid at her feet. In fact, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II heralded the beginning of the separation of state and monarchy, and she oversaw much of the transition from Empire to Commonwealth.

Views on monarchy notwithstanding, even the staunchest of republicans can recognise the incredible dedication Her Majesty showed in 70 years of service. Also, she loved dogs – a trait that endeared her to IMPACT.

The passing of the Queen represents the end of an era. She provided stability for the Commonwealth, through war, economic depressions, a pandemic, and numerous scandals. Within her reign, she was the first monarch to tour Australia, address the US Congress and visit China. She was also responsible for changing royal succession law.

Her Majesty’s passing also reminds us of how much we have changed, made glaringly obvious through the rituals that come with the passing of a monarch. Despite the prevalence of smartphones in the UK (87 per cent of adults), news of Queen Elizabeth’s death was posted to the gates of Buckingham Palace. While most of us are Zoom-ing in to interstate meetings, King Charles III is doing a royal tour of the four nations of the UK.

The events of the past week within our own country have served as a reminder that Australia is, indeed, a constitutional monarchy. The two-week suspension of parliament, the declaration of a National Day of Mourning, and the barrage of media coverage acknowledge that Queen Elizabeth II was our Queen, too; a fact easily forgotten day-to-day.  

For many, both monarchist and republican, the Queen’s death causes us to reflect upon all that our country has seen and endured over the last 70 years; our triumphs, our mistakes, and our growth. Many of us are mourning not just a Queen, but all we have experienced within the period of her incredible reign.

Others are quite simply grieving the loss of someone they thought of as, if not their own gran, then a surrogate for older loved ones that have also passed. In Billy Bragg’s words, “when they bury her next week, I, too, will mourn – not so much for the passing of a monarch, but for the passing of a generation.”

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