There are only 43 monarchies remaining in existence today compared to the hundreds, if not thousands that have existed throughout history. Monarchies are one of the earliest forms of society dating back to around 3000 BC during the time of the Egyptian pharos and Sumerians. Both large and small monarchies have existed. The British monarchy would be considered as one of the largest monarchies, as during the 19th century, it spanned over 5 continents. Queen Elizabeth II held the second longest reigning monarchy in history next to Louis IVX in France whose reign only lasted 2 years longer.
Monarchies and Republics and any fusion of the two exist because of the mindset of the monarchs and the mindset of the people they rule. If a monarchy cares for its people and provides for their needs, or in the instance of Queen Elizabeth II, evolves with the times, supports democracy, and provides comfort to her people by serving as head of state, she can remain Queen for 70 years and even pass the role to her heirs. I think of monarchies that have stretched for long periods vs those that get overthrown, and it reminds me of the Aesop Fable about the tree and the reed.
The tree and the reed both represent different monarch mindsets, those that bend to the concerns of the people they rule and those that don’t. The hurricane in the fable represents the people. A Bob Marley quote comes to mind: “Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.” And this is the mindset of a revolutionary that overthrows an unjust leader. All we have to do is look at the French Revolution or the Romanov Czar and his family’s execution to realize that the mindset of the ruler combined with the mindset of the people they rule, dictate something as significant as the society they live and political structure that governs them.
Today, in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, I commend the mindset of a Queen who bent to the will of her people. Her 70-year reign during a time where her position is mostly that of symbolic and ceremonial is a testament to her mindset. May she rest in peace.