As I am sure you know, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at the age of 96 recently. I am not a royal-watcher, but I am a royal-watcher-watcher. That is, the question of why people care about the lives of these people intrigues me. A few notes
1) Was she a good Queen? People tend to think so; however, since the job is somewhat ill-defined its hard to say.
2) The Queen is supposed to be above politics (she does not vote- I was surprised to find out that legally she can, but she really can't). We know very few of Queen Elizabeth II's opinions on political events. But the notion of political is not well defined. One would think that if she did an appeal for people to take the COVID vax that would not be political, but somehow it is (I do not know if she did such an appeal). King Charles III believes in global warming and that we need to do something about it. This again should not be political but is.
3) She is the second longest reigning Monarch. First is King Louis XIV who first became king at the age of 4. I had a blog complaining about this here. However, there is a more interesting point I want to make. From the first to the last day of King Louis XIV reign not much had changed. Technology, politics, other things just didn't change much. By contrast the world changed A LOT between Queen Elizabeth II first and last day:
a) The British were an important power in 1952. Less so now.
b) When her father died she was in Kenya and it took 4 hours to get the news to her. Now that would be immediate.
c) Divorce was considered bad in 1952 and is why King Edmond VIII could not be king (he wanted to marry a twice-divorced woman whose ex-husbands were still alive). And now three of the Queen's children have been divorced.
d) Gay people.. enough said. There has even been a royal gay wedding, see here
Black people (can't call them African-Americans), Women,... you fill it in.
e) When Charles wanted to get married it seemed to be important that he marry a virgin. We cannot imagine this mentality anymore. When Prince William and Kate got married they were already living together and this was NOT an issue for ANYONE. I looked up what the Church of England thought of it and all I got was some very bland comments like That's what young people do nowadays.
3) Is the monarchy a good thing? As an American I feel I do not have a right to an opinion. If the citizens of the United Kingdom approve of the monarch (polls show they do) then who am I do tell them they are wrong? Even so, lets look at reasons for it
a) Tourism. It has been said that the Monarchy leads to MONEY from tourism. So it is worth the price? Nobody seems to know and it would be hard to tell. However, I don't think the citizens of the United Kingdom view money as the reason for Monarchy. The American analog is giving Disneyland tax breaks to be in Florida which generates jobs. I doubt they think of the Monarchy in those mundane transactional terms.
b) CS Lewis said
Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film stars instead: even famous prostitutes and gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.
This is bit odd- they must all pretend to like the monarchy to make it work. A long time ago when Charles and Dianna were both having affairs, 80% of the citizens the United Kingdom thought that was okay so long as they are discreet so the people don't find out. But- those ARE the people.
Also odd- CS Lewis was a theologian and a believing Christian; however, his comment above can apply to God as well as to Kings.