The Death of Queen Elizabeth II: What Comes Next?

By Gia Bharadwaj and Sofie Robinson

On September 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II’s death left the world fraught with questions. After over 70 years of rule, Queen Elizabeth II passed away peacefully at the age of 96 at a residence of the royal family in Scotland. In the wake of her death, numerous questions have arisen regarding the process of establishing a new ruler, as has speculation about the readiness of her son, Charles, to ascend the throne. 

Aoife Beswick ’24 offered her reaction to the Queen’s death and her questions regarding the future of the British monarchy: “It came to me as a big surprise,” she said, adding that she “never expected something like this to happen so suddenly.” Beswick noted that the Queen’s presence had remained a constant throughout the 20th century, and her death has now created uncertainty. “I know Charles III has been involved in controversy, and he has pretty low approval. I think that might lead to disapproval of the monarchy as a whole,” Beswick  suggested. 

British citizens had already echoed this sentiment before the Queen’s death. Government polls from April 2022 ranked then-Prince Charles as the seventh most popular royal. Despite increased popularity since his ascension to the throne, many remain skeptical of his ability to rule due to the controversial aftermath of his divorce from Princess Diana (Time Magazine). As his reign progresses, public reception of King Charles III will remain a point of interest.

While many mourned the Queen’s death, others took it as an opportunity to express their grievances and frustrations toward her. Critics who view the Queen as an extension of the British monarchy condemn the global colonization—and exploitation—that occurred during her reign, especially in regard to her visits to African colonies (CNN). Some associate her reign with the nation’s lack of accountability for colonialism and believe she cannot be separated from Britain’s violent history (NPR). “This is a major loss, but we need to make sure we don’t overlook the Queen’s flaws,” Paige Whalen ’24 remarked. “She wasn’t perfect. No monarch can be, but I feel like most people think she was.”

The Queen’s death is both a complex loss and a reminder to consider the flaws and triumphs of our leaders. As British citizens welcome a new era while holding their monarchs accountable, Winsor students can do the same with their own local and national leaders. Ultimately, a sense of community is essential to overcoming major loss, and Winsor remains as connected as ever.