University of Sussex professors share their take on the Queen

AFTER the death of Queen Elizabeth II, professors have shared their views on Her Majesty’s impact on society and politics, and why Britain will never see a monarch like her again.

Martin Francis, Professor of War and History, and Professor Lindsay Stirton, Public Law Expert from the School of Law, Politics and Sociology offer their thoughts.

The “celebrity” culture of the Queen’s reign

Prof Francis said: “We would be wrong to assume that the royal family’s transition from dynastic figures to international media stars is a product of the last few decades. Paparazzi-style photographers harassed the Queen’s uncle Edward VIII as early as the 1930s.

“Britain’s national newspapers were reticent during the abdication crisis of 1936, but after the Second World War a new generation of editors and journalists were much less deferential and strove to publish ‘human interest’ stories about the monarchy, including Elizabeth.

The Argus: The Queen at Brighton in 2007The Queen in Brighton in 2007

Indeed, they refused to wait for a formal announcement before revealing that she had become engaged to Prince Philip in 1947 and, during the controversy over her sister Margaret’s affair with Group Captain Peter, criticized if not the Queen herself at least her closest advisors were Townsend in the mid-1950s.

“While the media became much more intrusive during royal divorces in the 1990s, the Queen has been as much a celebrity as a monarch throughout her reign.”

The constitutional role of the queen

Prof Stirton said: “Her Majesty has been a stabilizing influence on our constitution, which often lacks stability.

“Her Majesty’s role in politics was real – and not purely symbolic.

The Argus: The Queen opens Brighton Marina in 1979The Queen opened Brighton Marina in 1979

“When Tony Blair was Prime Minister, he wanted to call elections in early 2001, but Her Majesty advised him against it because turnout by rural voters may have influenced the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.

“So your weekly meetings with the Prime Minister have been effective.”

How the tradition diverged under the reign of the Queen

Prof Francis said: “There is a need to highlight the more traditional aspects of the Queen, an inevitable consequence of her age and reign.

“When she was born, Queen Victoria had been dead only a quarter of a century, a British monarch had yet to be heard on the radio – that was only six years after her birth – and her father was not just a king but an emperor.

“The notions of duty and honesty that it has attempted to defend were the result of a specific historical context: the need for the British monarchy to remain acceptable in an age changed by the First World War, mass democracy and revolution.

The Argus: The Queen visits Newhaven in 2013The Queen visits Newhaven in 2013

“Her deep personal Christian faith – an aspect of the Queen that really deserves much more attention – was also related in part to the need for the monarchy to demonstrate the values ​​of duty and personal morality in a time of change and anxiety .

“When my students watched the film of the 1953 coronation ceremony, they were amazed at the scale of the religious ceremony and the symbol: Elizabeth was anointed and not just crowned.

“It’s why she will never abdicate, but it’s also why when she finally dies, we will have lost our last meaningful living connection to a lost world. Only then will memory finally eclipse history.”

Visit the Argus Live Blog for the latest on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in Brighton and Sussex. University of Sussex professors share their take on the Queen

Fry Electronics Team

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