Thursday, September 8, 2022

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor (1926-2022)

Britain's queen died today at age 96 at her 19th century castle in Scotland.

Her 70-year reign as monarch began in one era of the modern world and ended in a very different one, as The Washington Post noted:
"On the morning of her father’s death [in 1952], on the day she would become queen, 25-year-old Elizabeth was perched in a treehouse in Kenya watching a herd of elephants at a watering hole. Because of the distance and difficulty of communication, it took hours for her to get the news.

"On Thursday, in just one marker of how much the world changed during her 70-year reign, the news of her own sudden illness and death spread in milliseconds, via the royal family’s Twitter account. Flight tracking data revealed the paths of her children rushing to her bedside at Balmoral Castle. By the time the royal household staff posted the black-bordered death notice on the gates of Buckingham Palace, everybody knew. The BBC news anchors were already dressed in black."
The picture of Elizabeth II on this postcard was taken in front of Sandringham House in Norfolk, England. That's where George V and George VI died, and it's now owned by Charles III. The postcard was mailed from Edinburgh to Boston in September 1977 with a 10p stamp picturing the queen. The breezy note discusses apples and the weather.

The upcoming days will be filled with solemn pageantry and some reckonings, uneasy at best and veering toward fresh anger at Britain's bloody, oppressive past. Writes NBC News' Janelle Griffith: "While Elizabeth ruled as Britain navigated a post-colonial era, she still bore a connection to its colonial past, which was rooted in racism and violence against Asian and African colonies. There have been growing calls in recent years for the monarchy to confront its colonial past.

Longtime Washington journalist Stacy M. Brown added: "Elizabeth’s legacy isn’t necessarily complicated, but filled with enough ambiguity and action and inaction that it might be easy to understand why people of color might view her different that the adoring throng mourning outside of Buckingham Palace. The longest-reigning British monarch’s history on race will forever exist as part of her legacy."

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