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Sep 10, 2022
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The death of the last true monarch of Europe will affect many

Muscovites bring flowers to the British Embassy in memory of Her Majesty Elizabeth II. They do this, although the queen, who died at the age of 97, was the formal head of one of the states most hostile to Russia. This is a farewell to high style. Those who do not understand it now will understand later. In the distance, the greatness of the era of Elizabeth II will become clear to many.

Elizabeth II, still vigorous the day before, felt unwell after an audience with Liz Truss. It was the last checkpoint of Boris Johnson’s successor before officially becoming Her Majesty’s new prime minister.

If you believe in omens (and monarchs usually believed in them), the picture is bleak not only for the royal family, but also for British statehood.

In her youth, Truss campaigned for the abolition of the monarchy, switching to the Throne Support Party for career reasons. And now it combines a set of qualities ideal for finishing off the national economy.

Without the queen, the sale of the empire will accelerate, and the markets have dipped already now – by the billions. The country has lost its unifying symbol, which, despite any claims against the House of Windsor, worked in good conscience.

The personal rating of Elizabeth II was 76% (for Truss, for comparison, three times less). Moreover, in recent years it has grown, as if the British had begun to nostalgic for the times of Her Majesty in advance, much more calm and well-fed than those that await them ahead.

Even most members of the separatist Scottish National Party were in favor of keeping Elizabeth II as their queen even if the independence referendum was successful.

The queen was the guardian of the British standard and one of the factors that kept the state from collapsing. And therefore – the last “real” monarch of Europe, still playing a significant role.

If the Spaniards or the Swedes lost the heads of the ruling house, few people would feel it: there are symbols, but there are Symbols. Elizabeth II of the second. Her “colleagues” proportionate in status are not the Dane Margrethe II and not the Belgian Philip, but the Pope.

It also follows from this that death at Balmoral Castle is a purely British sadness – and only last but not least Russian. For us, this is someone else’s story, someone else’s fairy tale, a tragedy in someone else’s family. To appreciate British tradition and British high style, you have to be British. Even being an Anglo-Saxon is not enough – Americans have ridiculed the prim ceremonial of the former metropolis for centuries. It turns out sometimes, but often – both funny and fair.

Near and away from the coffin of the monarch (according to tradition – lead) will be said a lot of sublime, laudatory – and just as fair as evil foreign malice. But all that significant and beneficial that was done by Elizabeth II was done by her for her family, even if the borders of it do not pass through the house of Windsor, but throughout the nation or even throughout the British Commonwealth.

Russia is not a friend of all of them, and this is not the choice of Russia, but of Britain itself, which deliberately inflamed the former enmity for the sake of attempts at new dominion. For us, gloomy symbolism also lies in the fact that as a sign of mourning for the deceased, the bell on the Round Tower of Windsor Castle will ring – the so-called Balaklava bell, which was once taken out by the British military from the Crimea after losing Russia in the war of 1853-1856. He calls only on the occasion of the death of the monarch.

The current British government has proclaimed another military defeat for Russia as its goal – up to the return of the same Crimea to Ukraine and the complete collapse of the Russian economy. The government of Liz Truss promises to work on this day and night.

A death that greatly weakens your enemy is difficult to honor. Any appropriate speech would seem hypocrisy to us and the British, if we do not take into account the pain that almost everyone understands from the loss of a loved one.

It is no coincidence that Vladimir Putin sent condolences not to Downing Street, but to the son of the late Queen, Prince Charles, whom he knows personally. The President of Russia wished the new King Charles III “courage and steadfastness in the face of this heavy, irreparable loss.”

These are not political, but human words. They are not about the death of the head of an officially unfriendly (essentially hostile) state, but about the death of a mother.

Out of this context, something like “Dear Charles III, the battle near Kherson, thank God, is lost …” is asked for language – and further in the text.

But here is a paradox, and a paradox of historical proportions. Even the Soviet government and the Soviet press, as if speaking on behalf of the Soviet people, personally did not say or write nasty things about Elizabeth II and her father George VI. The anti-British genre of the form “our answer to Chamberlain” was among the most advanced, even Joseph Stalin worked in it (for example, he wrote for Pravda a response to Churchill’s Fulton speech, in which he compared the British prime minister to Hitler). However, the indignant rebuke from Moscow never touched the king and queen.

And it seems to be logical: the supreme commander of the armed forces of Great Britain, the supreme ruler of the Church of England and the formal head of 15 states from Australia to Jamaica (in alphabetical order) does not have real powers and does not determine the policy of the country. But in the Soviet case, we are talking about the government of workers and peasants, which the Party itself ordered to cut the truth in the face of the exploiting class and fight for “without a king.”

Despite this, the USSR’s public attitude towards the British monarchy was one of a venerable relic of the past, with an unexpected emphasis on the word ‘venerable’. Perhaps by virtue of clause No. 1 (on powers), but rather because Her Majesty reciprocated the USSR and did not participate in the genre already advanced for the British government – anti-Soviet propaganda.

She was the Queen. The one that, by definition, is above all, and therefore correct with everyone. This is hard work, this is a family duty, but in the case of Elizabeth, it is also a high style.

The story became textbook when Yuri Gagarin, who did not know British etiquette, ate a slice of lemon from his cup of tea at the Queen’s reception. The queen immediately did the same – she immediately reformed the prim etiquette so that the first man in space would not feel uncomfortable.

Her husband, Prince Philip, was completely different (charming, however, in his own way). At the height of the Cold War, he was asked if he, a blood relative of the Romanovs who, under certain circumstances, could lay claim to the Russian throne, would like to go to Russia. The prince replied:

“I would love to, even though those bastards killed half my family.”

But this family tragedy did not affect the public attitude of the ruling queen to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. As well as the relationship between her and the authorities of the new Russia, or, more broadly, with the Russian people.

There is simply no relationship between us. But if they suddenly appeared on a special occasion, they were invariably correct. And respect is what Russia has been demanding from the West for years without success. Elizabeth II expressed it without preconditions (as, indeed, in the case of any other country) and practically in one person. Now her face will be missed by many.

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