Queen Elizabeth II has died.
I am not a royal family watcher, but this is clearly a major historical event in British, European, and World history.
History professors, students, and researchers working on monarchy, court culture, state development, and empire will be following developments closely….
Maya Jasanoff, Professor of History at Harvard University, has published an op-ed essay today on “Mourn the Queen, Not Her Empire.”
Jasanoff writes: ““The end of an era” will become a refrain as commentators assess the record-setting reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Like all monarchs, she was both an individual and an institution.”
Certainly much of the news reporting so far celebrates Elizabeth II’s legacy in laudatory and triumphant tones.
Jasanoff warns of the troubled legacies of the British Empire, however. “Those who heralded a second Elizabethan age hoped Elizabeth II would sustain British greatness; instead, it was the era of the empire’s implosion. She will be remembered for her tireless dedication to her job, whose future she attempted to secure by stripping the disgraced Prince Andrew of his roles and resolving the question of Queen Camilla’s title. Yet it was a position so closely linked to the British Empire that even as the world transformed around her, myths of imperial benevolence persisted. The new king now has an opportunity to make a real historical impact by scaling back royal pomp and updating Britain’s monarchy to be more like those of Scandinavia. That would be an end to celebrate.”
The New York Times reports on the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II and publishes Maya Jasanoff’s op-ed.
News reports are just breaking now. I will try to update this post later….