Queen has clawed at keeping Firm as ‘global monarchy’ despite UK’s ‘shrinking power’

The Queen 'now taking care of herself'

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The Queen’s 70 years on the throne will be commemorated this week with a four-day bank holiday weekend. The 96-year-old monarch was just 25 years old when succeeded her father King George VI as Sovereign in 1952. Tributes to Her Majesty’s historic reign kick off on Thursday with the Trooping the Colour parade from Buckingham Palace down The Mall to Horse Guards Parade.

During the event, an RAF flypast will coincide with an appearance by members of the Royal Family on the Palace balcony.

Trooping the Colour, which marks the Sovereign’s official birthday, has remained largely unchanged since the Queen came to the throne.

However, during Her Majesty’s lengthy reign, there have been significant changes in other areas.

Britain’s longest-serving monarch has led the nation through a period of industrial decline following World War 2, coupled with a dwindling global presence, according to royal historian Dr Ed Owens.

The former university lecturer is an expert on the House of Windsor, and author of the book, ‘The Family Firm: Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public, 1932-1953’.

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Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “The story of the monarchy in this period is that it has been present throughout a period that has been marked by relative decline.

“And arguably, with the loss of Britain’s industry, with the great shrinking of its geopolitical power, it is a much less significant nation today than it was in 1952.”

Despite this, Buckingham Palace will showcase some of the brightest moments of the Queen’s reign this week.

The Platinum Jubilee Pageant on Sunday will look back in time at Her Majesty’s journey from being crowned at her coronation in 1953.

With the help of digital technology, the event will revisit some of the monarch’s other royal milestones and look at how society has been transformed over the last seven decades.

Dr Owens praised the Queen’s leadership during this time, however, he also applied a critical historical lens to her reign, as, speaking about Britain’s international reputation, he said: “I would suggest that there is another story here.

“I think one of the problems with Elizabeth II’s reign – that we haven’t been honest enough about until historians have started to look at this recently – is that she has tried to maintain her monarchy as a global monarchy, much like the monarchy she inherited in 1952.

“She has done that through her commitment to the Commonwealth. She has been extremely active in ways that she could not be in domestic politics, because of course, she is meant to be nonpartisan, neutral.

“In the Commonwealth, she has taken a very active role in the political goings on in those countries because she has wanted to retain the monarchy’s global platform – and that is the Commonwealth.”

The Queen sees the Commonwealth as an integral part of Britain’s history and its links with other countries.

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Many nations in the 54-member coalition are former British dependencies and colonies from the days of Empire.

The Queen, who is head of the association, addressed its history in a statement for the Commonwealth Day service in March, which she was unable to attend in person.

Writing to the 2.5 billion Commonwealth citizens, she said: “In this year of my Platinum Jubilee, it has given me pleasure to renew the promise I made in 1947, that my life will always be devoted in service.

“Today, it is rewarding to observe a modern, vibrant and connected Commonwealth that combines a wealth of history and tradition with the great social, cultural and technological advances of our time.

“That the Commonwealth stands ever taller is a credit to all who have been involved.”

The Queen is the head of state for 15 Commonwealth realms, including the UK.

However, there have been signs that nations are increasingly seeking to make the transition to republics and remove the monarch as their head of state.

Barbados became a republic in November, and in March, Jamaica’s Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness said he wished his country could follow suit during a visit by Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

Dr Owens said the Queen’s commitment to Commonwealth “is one of the reasons why the recent calls for a move to a republic in the various Caribbean realms will bring such a sense of disappointment on the Queen’s part.”

He explained: “Because she has seen the Commonwealth as a way of keeping the monarchy globally relevant, just like it was globally relevant in 1952.”

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