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The Queen's legacy

A comfort no American will ever experience

The “hard-to-explain grief” I feel at the Queen’s passing is down to her “staggeringly rare” level of self-restraint, says Andrew Sullivan in The Weekly Dish. In our times, particularly in America, where I live, “narcissism is everywhere”: every feeling we have must be expressed and respected. The idea that we are humans with duties to others – duties that “require and demand the suppression of our own needs” – seems archaic. But the Queen “kept it alive by example”. She never said anything surprising or shared her opinions in public. “She was simply the Queen. She showed up. She got on with it. She was there.” Upon her death, it’s hard not to fear the restraint, duty and persistence she exemplified are disappearing with her.

Her reign proves that even in modern times, the “primordial institution” of monarchy still gives us “meaning and happiness”. However “shitty the economy” or ugly the political discourse, a monarch serves to represent the entire nation. “In times of profound acrimony, something unites.” Think of the pandemic, when the entire country was locked down: the Queen represented us all when she sat alone at her husband’s funeral, and when she promised in a 2020 address that “we will meet again”. No American will ever experience “that kind of comfort” – that unwavering, “very human form of patriotism” and stability across decades of huge change. That’s why the UK is right to stick with monarchy. This “symbolic, sacred, mystical thread through time and space” is a gift from the past that “the British people, in their collective wisdom, have refused to return”.