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R.I.P. Elizabeth: the iconic reign of a reluctant queen

London Bridge is down. Queen Elizabeth of England died at the age of 96. Her reign, which lasted 70 years, was the longest in British history. Acrimònia reminds with this service a great woman whom the world will not forget.


The photo documenting the event is nothing short of fabulous and looks like a meme: Queen Elizabeth II wrapped in a turquoise pastry dress, complete with handbag on her arm, sticks a maxi-knife into a cake, under the delighted and terrified looks of those present. The occasion is more unique than rare: this year the monarch celebrated the Platinum Jubilee, 70 years on the throne, 'beating' Queen Victoria, arrived at 63 years of reign and establishing a new record in the history of the British monarchy.

Not bad for a 'girl' who should not have become queen.

Queen not by choice

Perhaps not everyone knows that Elizabeth, although part of the royal family, was not the first choice for election to the throne. In the beginning there was a scandal: the sovereign regent, Edward VII, brother of George, father of Elizabeth and Margaret, fell in love with the charming socialite (and multi-divorced) Wallis Simpson; for her he abdicates the role, passing the buck to George, who despite a more timid character (and a stuttering problem), became king. And at his death, in 1952, Elizabeth, who was already married to Philip for 5 years, takes the role of queen.

A woman, a nation

However, there is no doubt that from an early age, Elizabeth's life has been linked to the public, to the community: when she was only 14 years old she gave her first speech on the radio where she addressed the children of the Commonwealth, forced to evacuate their homes as a result of the bombing of World War II. Since then his has been a life in the spotlight, with his coronation being the first to be televised.

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Un post condiviso da The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily)

Yet there is something extremely elusive and mysterious about this sovereign. Elizabeth seemed to embody the essence of the perfect monarch, who is almost no longer a physical person, but an emblem, a symbol, the crown itself, the monarchy itself, a fixed point in a changing world, despite all her great contradictions.

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In the course of her life she has witnessed epochal events, crises, wars, incredible social changes; she has experienced great joys, such as the births of eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren and great sorrows, such as the recent death of her beloved husband Philip; she has seen 14 prime ministers succeed each other and she has seen the monarchy change its face: an institution that has continued to arouse fascination, but also bitter criticism, starting with the story of Diana, an outsider who was devoured by a system of which she was not part and the recent events of Meghan and Harry, 'fugitives' from court. On the one hand we have the more 'modern' side of the English monarchy, represented by Kate and William, and then there was her, Elizabeth, who represented a past that perhaps no longer exists, but that in a certain sense has managed to evolve and impose itself, perhaps because it represents something stable.

And so this woman with a stern but benevolent expression, with her pastel suits, has become a pop figure, loved precisely for its iconography, memorized, loved, immortalized by a beautiful series like The Crown, satirized in The Prince, made tender in the cartoon The Queen's corgi (we should remember that the Queen is a big fan of the legendary corgis). Face of improbable gadgets for tourists and face of the nation.

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A defining figure of modern and contemporary history from which we cannot escape.