Queen Elizabeth the Last

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Have you ever wondered about the changes to the British Monarchy that are implied by membership of the European Community?

Back in 1952, when the then Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II, of what was she Queen?

Well, clearly the United Kingdom. Also she had titular Head of State status in Australia, Canada, and many other actual or former colonies. Then there was her role in the Commonwealth of Nations. All in all a pretty influential position, and world ranging. And, as head of the Church of England, she could claim to represent the religious interests of a substantial majority of United Kingdom residents - by profession of faith, if not actual attendance at church.

The United Kingdom was, itself, a sovereign nation, recently victorious in World War II. One of only three nuclear powers, when Britain spoke, the world listened. Forging ahead across the board in science, technology, engineering, and architecture, progress was the order of the day. Rebuilding the economy and the infrastructure was the business of the nation. British goods were exported to every continent.

What is the role of the Monarch today? The role as head of countries other than the United Kingdom has all but vanished: even the few remaining ceremonial duties are now performed infrequently. The United Kingdom itself is no longer a sovereign power, but a member state of Europe. Its world influence is a pale shadow of what it was. Vehicles from other countries and other states of Europe fill the streets. The steel, coal, and engineering industries are all but gone except where they have been absorbed by 'foreign' interests. Imported goods fill the shop shelves, and what is now exported?

Even in the sphere of religion the Queen can no longer claim to represent even a slim majority of her subjects.

So is she Elizabeth the Last? The last Monarch of a sovereign nation? It seems that all her successor has to look forward to is being titular head of a member state of Europe, giving pro-forma consent to laws of purely local applicability, modelled on - and previously approved by - the European Parliament.

In the context of that other great federation, the USA, can Prince Charles look forward to being Charles III of, say, Texas? With the constitutional power to be consulted, urge caution, or to encourage, he would in fact have less power, and probably less influence, than the Governor of any present-day state in America.

And so it seems that, in the traditional sense at least, Her Britannic Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second is destined to be the Last Queen of England - Elizabeth the Last.


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