Queen Elizabeth II died on August 8, 96, at her home in Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Elizabeth was crowned in 1953 when I was well into my high school years and I remember this momentous occasion vividly.

Britain was still struggling to shake off the leftover effects of the Second World War and the sudden flowering of vibrant pomp and pageantry, with colors and clanking horse-drawn coaches, and at the television for the first time, gave a huge boost to the people. There were coronation parties in every neighborhood with beer barrels, buntings, Union Jacks, jelly and cakes.

Suddenly there was talk of possibilities for renewal and a new future. In this second Elizabethan age, our poets, artists and philosophers would prosper, our brilliant scientists and engineers would solve all technical problems, our soldier would again cover the empire and our national government would bring us peace, prosperity, fairness and justice. justice for all.

That didn’t happen of course, but it was the power of the myth and the spirit of the occasion to inspire. Queen Elizabeth, throughout her long reign, I believe, has managed to place this mythical inspiration and firmness at the center of her service and duty to the nation and the Commonwealth.

I have no doubt Britons now feel momentarily adrift from an anchor they have known for 70 years and a fitting farewell from services at the Abbey and a solemn procession to Windsor will lift many heavy hearts. In the days following her passing, the process of canonizing Saint Elizabeth the Noble is now well underway and, in terms of service to the nation, all accolades and superlatives are well deserved.

However, I grew up surrounded by my Welsh family, none of whom had the knee-jerk reaction of many Englishmen to bend the knee and bow before a whiff of majesty; they, along with many others who were British but not English, were diehard socialists who had good reason to be skeptical of the monarchy, the throne and central government in faraway London.

And so, I’m perfectly comfortable with thorns amid flowers, and I have a bone or two to pick with Her Majesty.

I’m sure from the earliest days of her reign, Elizabeth was surrounded by Poo-Bahs, Brokers and Keepers of Everything Royal who advised her and taught her that she was the only asset The Firm needed. She believed them, I believe, and protected her prerogatives. If I may allow myself to take up the aphorism of the deluge: “After the queen, nothing”.

As a result, she failed to save her sister Margaret Rose, who only wanted to marry a divorced person, without shame or punitive impoverishment. Happiness denied. It was the hypocritical idea and ideal of the Church of England, of which Elizabeth was the head. This church, drawing on Reformation ideas, was founded by Henry VIII for the purpose of his divorce because he really, really wanted to marry Anne Boleyn.

Henry translated the Catholic Missal into English, held services in the vernacular, and called the church Anglican, not Roman. It also allowed him to demolish the monasteries whose power, prestige and profitability he hated.

Elizabeth also ensured that Phillip had to fight for his title and became a decoration of the monarchy, four steps behind and trying to look nice, instead of an important military man for whom he was well qualified. She also failed to protect Charles from the Gordonstoun school, to which he was banished as soon as possible and for which he was not suited.

She also repeated with Charles the same mistake as with Margaret Rose and subjected the nation to tears and turmoil over Diana’s mess, which we could well have done without – and Charles still ended up with Camilla as his queen consort . She also failed to save Diana, perhaps being more interested in her horses and dogs, and hung around Balmoral while the nation mourned Diana’s death outside her home in London.

And she has found no way to welcome Prince Harry and his wife into the family circle, potentially a major asset to The Firm and, stripped of all royal trappings, he and Meghan have a separate life in California. Not the best record for a family matriarch.

And I don’t know what his weekly discussions with all these prime ministers have come up with. What special knowledge and experience she brought to these appointments I will never know as she mostly observed Britain through the primed glass of a Rolls Royce. Has she ever guided or advised them down different and perhaps better paths? I hope she did. If so, it has failed to protect Britons, especially those of the lower classes, from the onslaught of vituperate Margaret Thatcher or crazed Brexiteers.

Queen or no queen, her country and her family found themselves in ruins.

I always had a lot of time for Charles: in the beginning, he spoke truth to power. I particularly remember him pointing out the sparseness of modern British architecture and the ugly juxtaposition of modern concrete monstrosities near the sleek facades of London’s iconic buildings. He also understood the need to preserve nature early on and successfully introduced conservation methods to his own farms. He made it known publicly that it was the right thing to do. I always thought that as a young man he was worth listening to.

So, I have high hopes of Charles III. I think he has his own brain and his own ideas and is quite capable of communicating them clearly and forcefully. Idiot Liz Truss could learn a lot if she has ears to listen. I also hope that he can find a path to peace and reconciliation within the family; every family, high or low, deserves it.

Contact Michael Lewis at [email protected]