The monarch died Thursday at age 96.
Queen Elizabeth II, the figurehead of the British government for the past seven decades, died Thursday (Sept. 8) at age 96.
Abigail Swingen, an associate professor in Texas Tech University's Department of History, is available to discuss the late monarch's legacy. Swingen teaches courses in early modern British and European history, the Atlantic World and Western Civilization. Her research interests include the origins and consequences of England's financial revolution, the development of the British transatlantic empire, ideas of political economy, labor and slavery in the early modern world, and the development of early modern political culture.
- Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1952, was the longest-reigning monarch in the history
of the United Kingdom, and her reign coincided with a staggering number of major world
events, including the independence of a number of British colonies and the expansion
of the British commonwealth from 8 to 56 nations.
- Generally, she was well-liked and loved by the public, although over the course of
several decades, an increasing number of people in the UK came to see the monarchy
as a drain on economic resources. The palaces, ceremonies and upkeep for the family
cost an astronomical amount of money. People in the UK also have very mixed feelings
about her children, despite a general love of the queen.
- Her reign also coincided with profound changes in how the monarchy interacted with the public, owing to changes in the media landscape (from newspapers, magazines and radio to television to the social media age). The public demanded far more access and information about the monarchy than had been the case in her childhood or early in her reign, and the Royal Family became top news for gossip columnists all over the world. This often led to conflicts and criticism of the queen, such as with the death of Princess Diana or more recently with the reported treatment of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex by the Royal Family.
- “The Queen, like all major historical figures, leaves a complex legacy behind. While it's natural to mourn the loss of such an important figure, especially one who was obviously beloved by so many people around the world, it's also important to think about broader questions about monarchy and empire that this event raises.”