Elizabeth II

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Liz "Queenie" Windsor in 2006.
Ravishing guide to
U.K. Politics
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God Save the Queen?

Elizabeth II, "the Queen" (if you're one of her subjects, at least, unless you live in the Channel Islands, where she is the Duke — and not Duchess — of Normandy; or on the Isle of Man, where she is the Lord of Mann[note 1]) is an old lady who has, since 1952, been the monarch of the following countries:

She has been, at one point or another, the ruler of 40 independent nations, all of which were at one point in time British colonies or possessions (except, of course, for the UK itself).

Other info of relevance/snark[edit]

Liz the badass.

When she first ascended to the throne in 1952, there was some confusion as to her royal title, since Elizabeth I had ruled England, what is now Northern Ireland and Wales in the 16th century, prior to the Union of Crowns, while there had never been a Queen Elizabeth of Scotland.[note 2] There were even a few bewildering lawsuits from angry Scottish people,[2] and bomb threats against various bodies. The compromise they came up with was that for future monarchs, they would use whichever regnal number is higher for England or Scotland (which they'd been unintentionally doing all along). This is why postboxes in Scotland bear only a crown and not the "E II R" insignia seen elsewhere in the UK. Not a lot of people (outside of Scotland, obviously) know that.

Interestingly, she was the one who insisted upon televising her own coronation, and has happily embraced new technologies[note 3] and shown appreciable support for science. She served in World War II as a mechanic and an ambulance driver, which may partly explain her interest in technology. She is also known to be a somewhat avid fan of the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who.[3] In fact, the only BBC director general to not be knighted during Elizabeth II's tenure as monarch is the one responsible for the show's cancellation in the late 1980s (actually this was true for a long time but lately there's been a series of BBC scandals from the Hutton Inquiry to Jimmy SavileWikipedia, and DGs have been falling like flies). There is some suspicion that this may partly explain her apparent boredom during the opening ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics (one episode of Doctor Who had the titular Doctor light the cauldron for the 2012 Olympics). She is also somewhat known for having a rather "wicked" sense of humor humour, which was shown quite amusingly by the way her entry into the stadium was portrayed (with the help of a stunt-double) at the aforementioned Olympic Games' opening ceremonies as seen here. This may have more to do with the nature of British humour and wit in general than with the Queen's wit in particular, however.

She currently lives in a palace in England with her dogs. As she refuses to give interviews, her political opinions, as well as any religious beliefs she has, if any, are pretty much unknown to anyone outside her close family and friends (she is, of course, head of the Church of England, but since this position is hereditary, it doesn't necessarily mean she actually believes in God; that said, what little we know of her suggests that she actually prefers the Church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian--of which she is as monarch a lay member, albeit also its hereditary "defender"--and its low-church piety). With respect to previous monarchs of the United Kingdom, however, she is characterised by her relative sanity; her ancestors were mostly ego-hungry, power-mad and generally off-the-wall mental (also known as German) while one of her direct offspring is considered a bit of a buffoon who has been behind several anti-science lawsuits and seems to think homeopathy works.[4] Hence we hope good Queen Bess outlives Charlie and the throne skips down to William, who has yet to prove himself insane.[note 4] The Queen is also the subject of a very good movie starring Helen Mirren. (The movie itself is called, intuitively enough, The Queen.)[5]

Since 1993 she has been a full-fledged UK taxpayer.[6] So she basically pays herself 63 pence per year to host parties and wave, which is a nice job if you can get it.

Political interventions[edit]

As the Head of State, the queen is supposed to be impartial in political matters. She has maintained a fairly good record compared to her son Prince Charles who won't shut up on certain topics. However there have been lapses in the royal poker face.

One controversial example was the dismissal of Australian Labor Party leader Gough Whitlam as Prime Minister of Australia in 1975, which was done by the Governor General on dubious constitutional grounds; for a long time there were question marks over whether the Queen knew or approved of this act which has been likened by some to a coup against the democratic government. Papers finally released in 2020 after 45 years of campaigning suggested that senior figures trying to get rid of Whitlam (the Governor General John Kerr and the Queen's private secretary Martin Charteris) deliberately kept it from the Queen, preserving her aura of impartiality.[7]

There were a lot of people seeking to uncover her attitude to referenda for Scottish Independence in 2014 and Brexit in 2016. In the run up to the 2014 referendum the Queen advised Scots to "think very carefully about the future". This was interpreted by pro-independence conspiracy theorists as a gross invasion into Scottish affairs, although it's unclear if they didn't want people to think about the future.[8] A feeling that the queen opposed independence (despite the SNP promising to keep her on) was heightened after the result when David Cameron commented that the queen "purred down the line" after Scotland voted no to independence; in saying this, Cameron committed a serious breach of protocol as well as sounding deeply creepy in a sexual way.[9]

The Queen's opinions on Brexit and the European Union were much debated. In March 2016, the Sun, a madly anti-EU and pro-Royalist paper, claimed the Queen backed Brexit. She reportedly made comments at a private party attended by several senior politicians, and Michael Gove was accused of leaking it. Senior BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg later said that the Queen had commented, "I don't see why we can't just get out. What's the problem?"[10]

There was an earlier mini-scandal in 2012 when it was revealed that the Queen had made comments about Abu Hamza, a Muslim cleric with pro-terrorist sympathies, and asked why he couldn't be arrested.[11]

Reportedly, she also argued with Margaret Thatcher, demanding the Conservative government take more action against South Africa's apartheid regime in the 1980s, and was critical of Turkey's possibly joining the EU, saying at a Christmas party (possibly after a few gins) "Oh, we don’t want Turkey to come in for a long time."[12]

Other usage[edit]

The Queen Elizabeth 2 (Arabic rather than Roman numeral, colloquially, the QE2) was a ship that sailed the oceans blue from roughly 1969 to 2006 or so. At least one RationalWikian was transported from the Old World to the New stowed aboard her.[note 5]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Though her great-great-grandmother Vicky actually styled herself Lady of Mann. Yes, two Ns.
  2. Because Scotland never had to put up with the murderous Tudors. Only the murderous Stewarts/Stuarts.
  3. There was a dumb manufactroversy when Barack Obama gave her an iPod as a gift during their first meeting; although it is true she already had an iPod, she actually had requested the one Obama gave her herself, as her existing one was out of date.
  4. Who, up until the appearance of Edward Cullen, seemed to be the no.1 fancy piece for tweenage girls everywhere.
  5. This guy's been on it too.

References[edit]