As a monarch, Queen Elizabeth II was unique.
Quite aside from her 70-year, 214-day reign, making her the longest reigning British head of state and second-longest reigning monarch in history (only France’s Louis XIV was longer at 72 years 110 days), she commanded the respect and affection of people around the world both within the Commonwealth and beyond.
Rightfully so. She was a class act.
And she arguably single-handedly sustained British royalty during a period that saw the unravelling of aristocracies virtually everywhere else in the Western world.
Personally, I was a little surprised that my own reaction to her death on Sept. 8 was as sorrowful as it was.
Even many vehement anti-monarchists have expressed begrudging admiration.
All that being said, with the passing of the second Elizabethan era, there can be no better time for Canada to finally break ties with the British Crown.
In a recent poll (April 2022) by Angus Reid, timed to coincide with Elizabeth R’s 96th birthday, 51 per cent of Canadians said they were agreeable to severing ties with the monarchy. Furthermore, while nearly two-thirds of Canadians still viewed the Queen favourably, a larger percentage (67) either moderately or strongly opposed recognizing then-Prince Charles (now King Charles III) as Canadian head of state on his mother’s passing.
An even greater percentage, 76 per cent, were opposed to Charles’ wife Camilla becoming Queen).
At the time of Queen Elizabeth’s birthday, more Canadians (41 per cent) thought it was a poor time to open up constitutional discussions on replacing the British monarch as head of state than thought it was a good time (39 per cent).
I suspect once the mourning period for the recently departed Queen subsides, those numbers are going to dramatically change.
Quite aside from the cost of maintaining the Crown ($58 million per annum) and the practicalities of the changover (do we really want Charles on our money?), the monarchy represents an archaic and egregious class system based on inherited power and prestige that has no place in the modern world.
I bear no ill-will toward Charles as a person, but we are no longer a colony, we are a sovereign nation in our own right.
The Queen is dead, long live the King, but not as Canadian head of state.