In 114 days (as of May 9, 2015,) Queen Elizabeth II’s legend will take one step further into history. On September 9th of this year she will become the longest-serving royal (63 years, 217 days) to ever grace the English throne. If you are younger than 65 years old you will not have known anyone other than Queen Elizabeth as the leader of England.
It is said she will not abdicate her throne, but will reign until her death. That is the expected choice, but possibly not the wisest.
It is likely her Majesty does not understand the impact her death will have on the world. Humans cling to the idea that some things do not change, and there are few people in the civilized world who don’t have a mental and/or emotional attachment to her and her place in our world. She is the constant that we all rely on to know that some things do not change.
During her reign as Queen we have had twelve Presidents in the United States (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush (41,) Clinton, Bush (43,) and Obama.) We have seen movie stars, rock stars, athletes all come and go, but Queen Elizabeth has always been there.
In a world of instant communication, her death will affect more people than anyone in the history of the world. People will remember where they were and what they were doing the moment the news is announced. If her death coincides with a change in royal leadership, it will magnify the impact on the world.
The event of her death and the passing of the English crown will be seen by some as the perfect opportunity to take advantage of an emotional situation. The majority of the world will pull closer together in grief, but those who seek radical changes in politics, government, the economy, or just seek to hurt the Western world, will use the chaotic feelings of the loss as a way of creating more chaos.
The royal family will be dealing with the loss, and the matters of royal duty at the same time. The coronation of the new King may not happen for a year or more; however, the details of transitioning power from Her Majesty to the His Majesty will involve changes in staff, new protocols, and a thousand other items that have not been done for over six decades. All this will happen at a time when few will be able to focus on anything beyond the loss of woman and icon that has been an unflickering beacon of the Western World.
However, if she reached this milestone in four months and then decided to abdicate sometime in the next year, a calm, undramatic transition would preserve the stability of the royal role the hearts and minds of the world. As the former queen with over sixty years of experience, she would become the most valuable and trusted counsel for the new King.
Her eventual passing will still devastate the emotional state of the world, but with a new King already on the throne, the world will know that England’s royal, non-political leadership will live on.
God Save the Queen.