Asharq Al-awsat English https://aawsat.com/english Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper http://feedly.com/icon.svg

Passing of Queen Balmoral Symbolizes Scotland’s Belonging to the UK

Passing of Queen Balmoral Symbolizes Scotland’s Belonging to the UK

Sunday, 11 September, 2022 - 08:15
Camelia Entekhabifard
Editor-in-chief of the Independent Persian.

On Friday, the world lost one of the wisest personalities in contemporary history. Elizabeth II, Queen of Britain, passed away at the age of 96 in Scotland’s Balmoral Castle, only a day after she had confirmed Lizz Truss as the new prime minister. During her seventy years of reign over Britain and Commonwealth realms, she proved tireless, determined, strong and effective.


The most important legacy of this history-making woman is safeguarding the crown of United Kingdom so that it has kept its influence and credence despite the separation of crown from politics and its ceremonial rule.


As a symbol of unison and national unity of Britain, the institution of monarchy has been able to safeguard the crown despite many oppositions and this was done with the foresight evident in the policies that the late Queen adopted during the 70 years of her reign.


Given the separation of politics from the crown in Britain, it was the important and intangible presence of the Queen that could lead to amazing consequences in politics.


Her latest decision, to stay the past seven months in Balmoral, is amongst her last acts of wisdom.


In a referendum in 2014, 55 percent of people in Scotland voted to remain in the UK. The government of Nicola Sturgeon has asked London for a new referendum in October 2023, based on a vote of the Scottish parliament, and Boris Johnson had opposed this during his premiership. There is now a legal debate in Britain’s Supreme Court: can the Scottish parliament independently vote to hold a referendum on independence?


The presence of Queen in Scotland and her passing away there (as opposed to England) shows her heartfelt love for the country and her attempt to win the favor of its people and continue the unity of these two lands.


Queen’s funeral will begin from Scotland. Based on the documents signed by her son, Britain’s new King Charles III, the day of the funeral will be a public holiday in Scotland and registered in the calendar of the country.


The queen’s reign of seventy years has also had many challenges: From the end of the second world war and dawn of an era of reconstruction and new times for modern history of Europe and the world to events that heavily influenced the royal family and the crown and threatened it with collapse. There was the controversial divorce of Princess Diana, Queen’s daughter-in-law, and revelations about the relationship of crown prince, Charles, with a woman who was married to someone else. When Diana died, many considered this a suspicious death and a conspiracy of the royal family.


Charles then married Camilla, a divorcee who wasn’t popular at all and whom many considered to be the reason for the failure of Charles’s marriage to Diana. This led to more threats to Charles's status and less popularity for the royal family.


The Queen acted with wisdom and planning. Her giving of titles, her consideration of public feelings and her participation (or lack thereof) in events were all due to planning and her sensitivity to the keeping of an institution that had been, since the 18th century, amongst the biggest and most influential royal institutions in the world.


The meaningful presence of Britain’s royal family, now the only important royal family in the world, has long been a topic of attention for the world.


When William, Charles’s eldest son, married Catherine Middleton, a middle class girl who wasn’t from the nobility, this was an important sign of the Queen accepting that the old and noble family must be brought up to date.


In the 21st century, nobility needed transformation and reform too so that it could keep its connections with people and society.


She even picked royal titles with precision and while remaining sensitive to public sensations and newcomers to the family.


Charles’s new wife never became Princess of Wales and, so long as the Queen was alive, had the lower rank of Duchess. A few months ago, Queen Elizabeth II said she solemnly hoped that the Duchess of Cornwall could become Queen Consort when Charles became king.


To keep respect for Camila, William’s wife, Catherine too became a Duchess.


Catherine Middleton was the first non-noble who officially married a man who was to become Prince of Wales and heir to the throne.


Millions around the world watched this historic marriage and hundreds of thousands came to London for this happy occasion.


These events helped the growth of tourism industry, increased public income and helped keep alive the history and something that the people of Britain could be proud of.


After that, for the first time in the royal family, a person of color married an important member of the royal family: Meghan Markle, an American divorcee with an African-American mother and a white father married Harry, fifth in the line to inherit the British throne.


Meghan and Harry’s marriage also had its difficulties. In a TV interview, Meghan accused the royal family of racism and humiliation of herself and her son due to their mixed race.


In the West today, the topics of race and sexual orientation have the potential for causing big legal and civic problems.


Raising such contemporary accusations against a family that has ruled Britain and many other realms since the 18th century is a challenge.


Through the policy she adopted toward this young couple, Elizabeth II was able to control and manage provoked feelings in the British state and amongst the general public.


For this 96-year-old woman, the interests of monarchy and people of Britain were one and the same.


Elizabeth had been born in the midst of the transformation of British Empire into a union of commonwealth countries. The lands under the domination and colonialism and sovereignty of Britain became independent, one after the other, and left UK’s sovereignty or mandatory oversight.


When she assumed her reign in 1952, the monarch of Britain was also head of state for a few independent countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.


During the 1960s and 70s, decolonization escalated in Africa and more than 20 countries became independent from Britain.


In the same time period, the occupying forces of the British army started negotiations with the Shah of Iran about evacuation of Iran’s occupied islands (Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abumusa) and holding an independence referendum for Bahrain.


The Sheikdoms on the southern coast of the Arabian Gulf also went on to join their seven emirates together and form a new country, the United Arab Emirates.


The British occupying forces evacuated the three islands of Iran and the Lion and Sun flag of the Iranians was now furled over the islands, as the Iranian army moved in.


As the new Middle East got formed in the late 1960s and borders between Iraq, Syria Lebanon, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, and Israel were established, this was all part of a policy that Iranians regarded as being driven by ‘the old fox of colonialism.’


After seventy years of rule by Elizabeth II, her 72-year-old son, Charles, became king on September 10.


Public welcoming of the ceremonial assumption of kinghood by Charles, in the style of the 18th century, once more led to public interest in the monarchy.


In Britain, monarchy acts as an institution that brings unity, honor and identity for the nation.


Queen Elizabeth II played a remarkable role in fostering a feeling of nationalism and pride in Britain and in Commonwealth realms.


Another turning point in the Queen’s life was her prediction of her own death being near and her purposeful residing in Scotland’s Balmoral Castle; an act that showed her compatriots and her successor that unity will bring national sovereignty and power. She died in Scotland; as if to declare that Scotland was part of Britain.


Other opinion articles

Editor Picks

Multimedia