The British crown falters as Elizabeth II prepares to turn 70 as queen

January 25, 2022

FILE PHOTO. Britain’s Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and Princess Anne, standing on the Palace balcony of Buckingham as they watch a flyover to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force in central London, UK. July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Radburn

By Ben Makori and Michael Holden

WINDSOR, England, Jan 25 (Reuters) – This year’s celebrations marking seven decades of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign will face a less happy reality for the world’s preeminent royal family: the British monarchy is being challenged in unthinkable ways. for most of the last 70 years.

From the sexual abuse court case faced by his son Prince Andrew to the accusations of racism in the royal house of his grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, rarely the family of Elizabeth II, 95, who became reigns on February 6, 1952, has faced such damaging scrutiny and headlines.

Such is the respect for the queen that as long as she lives, the nearly 1,000-year-old institution seems secure. What comes after is less certain.

“The monarchy and the queen are synonymous to most people,” Graham Smith, chief executive of the anti-monarchy group Republic, which has stepped up its campaign, told Reuters.

“Once we’re past the end of the queen’s reign, we don’t know where public opinion is going to go.”

He said that although it would only take an Act of Parliament to end the monarchy, it was very likely that a referendum would have to be held first.

The fortunes of the monarchy have seen ups and downs since the Norman King William I’s conquest of England in 1066, but only in the decade following the execution of King Charles I in 1649 has the UK been a republic.

During the reign of Elizabeth II, the low moments occurred in the 1990s, with the failure of the marriages of three of her children and the death in 1997 of Princess Diana, first wife of the heir, Prince Charles.

The high points were the shows of public support in previous jubilees, the royal wedding in 2011 of Elizabeth II’s grandson -and future king-, Prince William, and the birth of royal children.

Buckingham Palace said four days of celebrations in June to mark Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee will allow “national moments of reflection on the queen’s 70 years of service”.

A spokesman declined to comment on questions about the long-term future of the monarchy.

(Written by Michael Holden; edited in Spanish by Benjamín Mejías Valencia)