What Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral Told the World and What It Means for Britain, King Charles

COMMENTARY Europe

What Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral Told the World and What It Means for Britain, King Charles

Sep 21, 2022 3 min read
COMMENTARY BY
James Jay Carafano

Vice President, Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute

James Jay Carafano is a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges.
A mourner waves a Union flag during the Committal Service for Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on September 19, 2022 in Windsor, England. Alex Pantling / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

It is governments, not crowns, that are elected to do the people's work. Britain will thrive, if its new king and its elected leaders remember that.

The United Kingdom Elizabeth reigned over was not the global power known to past monarchs, but the country continues to have outsized geopolitical importance. 

Leaders like Thatcher and the queen herself, served the people and brought them from the deprivations of the post-World War England to a modern, prosperous state.

The last 10 days have seen much reflection about Queen Elizabeth: the challenges she faced, her many accomplishments, the ups and downs of her personal life and the lives of the British people, and maybe all of us. 

The queen's reign spanned modern British history. So what has this burst of remembrance told us about what is next for Albion and the rest of the world?

The crown still matters.

We were not transfixed out of nostalgia or obsessed with the tabloid press. The nation, the world, would not have pause to honor and reflect on her life if the crown were just a crown.

Elizabeth was, first and foremost, a champion of British democracy. She was the First Servant of the people and a powerful reminder that it is the British people themselves who are sovereign. 

>>> Queen Elizabeth II Was One of the Greatest Leaders of the Modern Era

It is governments, not crowns, that are elected to do the people's work. Britain will thrive, if its new king and its elected leaders remember that.

It was, after all, a sovereign British people who voted for Brexit. They didn't want their lives dictated by bureaucrats in Brussels. When it comes to freedom, security, and prosperity, they want to make their own decisions.

The crown will continue to serve well if it continues to be a voice of democracy, not a ruler sharing its personal opinion on how democracy ought to work. 

Meanwhile, Britain’s elected government has a new prime minister, Liz Truss. She will have to deliver on what has delivered success for Britain in the past. With Britain now out from the shadow of Brussels and COVID, it is time Whitehall delivers more economic freedom and less nanny-statism. 

This lesson applies to America, as well. President Biden has redefined democracy as agreeing with President Biden. This leaves him looking and sounding more like the British king the American colonists rejected behind than the British ruler we mourn today. Doing the people's work, not dictating to them how things will work, is the real essence of democracy. 

Nor is Biden alone in his peculiar new definition of democracy. The European Parliament is now in the business of declaring some EU members aren't democracies--mostly because they don't agree with Brussels. 

Democracies thrive with more self-governance and less government.

Britain still matters.  

The United Kingdom Elizabeth reigned over was not the global power known to past monarchs, but the country continues to have outsized geopolitical importance. 

Operating outside the EU, Britain is an independent power with a European perspective. As such, it that can set the example for others. The UK, for instance, blocked Huawei telecom from becoming part of its national infrastructure. 

The British government recognized the risks Huawei’s technology—and its ties to the Chinese regime—posed to British security, privacy and commerce. Its action set a precedent for other countries. Similarly, Britain has been a leader in building a coalition of support for Ukraine against Putin's aggression. 

Britain remains vital strategic ally for the U.S. and the lynchpin of the transatlantic community. 

>>> Britain’s New Prime Minister Liz Truss Can Be a U.K. Powerhouse Just Like Margaret Thatcher Was

To deal with the global challenges posed by Russia, Iran, and China, Liz Truss needs to be just as resolute a leader of the free world as Margaret Thatcher was. And Britain's new king ought to as good a partner as the queen was when Thatcher led in the Falklands War and battled the Soviet's evil empire. 

There is leadership lesson here for us, too. Biden has been too much the bystander-in-chief. He seems more interested in using foreign policy to advance his domestic political agenda and his radical climate policies than to advance American interests abroad.

Biden is not alone. Other great powers of the free world, most notably France and Germany, have done the least leading when it comes to pushing back against Putin.

There was greatness in the second Elizabethan era. Leaders like Thatcher and the queen herself, served the people and brought them from the deprivations of the post-World War England to a modern, prosperous state. 

May the new king, the new prime minister and all the other leaders of the free world follow their example and help carry us all into a better future. 

This piece originally appeared in Fox News