Analysis: Queen’s first in-person engagement this year


London (CNN) – Why does Britain have a monarchy? It is a question as old as the institution itself. But even more important is the reason why countries beyond the UK have the same monarchy.

The Queen is head of state in 15 other countries that were once under British rule, stretching to Australia and New Zealand – literally on the other side of the planet.

Due to her age, Her Majesty has not traveled to these countries for years, which makes it even more remarkable that she retained her posts there. More recently, royals like her son, Prince Edward, and grandchildren, the Sussexes and Cambridges, have come on her behalf.

So how does she keep the relationships strong? Well, she demonstrated it this week with a fleeting but symbolic visit on the road to Windsor Castle.

The 94-year-old visited the Air Force Memorial in Runnymede on Wednesday to mark the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force. The monarch’s surprise appearance was his first in-person public engagement this year.

The Queen stepped out for her first in-person engagement this year on Wednesday.
Since the start of the pandemic, Elizabeth has rarely left the boundaries of Windsor Castle, instead turning to daily video calls to continue her duties. This is in part due to her advanced age (she is due to turn 95 in a few weeks, April 21), but also to preventing the public from gathering in droves to see her and thus providing an increased opportunity for Covid transmission. .
This week saw the UK’s first cautious steps out of lockdown and the Queen received her first dose of the vaccine (and is expected to receive a second soon). But her desire to mitigate risks amid the pandemic remains a priority as she picks up more public events.
The fact that she opted for her first physical engagement in 2021 to involve a Commonwealth country where the thorny question of her relevance has re-emerged is revealing.
Keeping her job is not something she can take for granted. In September last year, Barbados announced that it would completely abandon its “colonial past”, choosing to remove Elizabeth as head of state. It will become a republic in November, when it celebrates its 55th anniversary of independence from the British Empire.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been here,” the Queen commented upon arriving at the Air Force Memorial. Australian and UK media cameras were asked to capture the moment.

And its choice of outlet was not missed by Australian outlets. “Queen’s nod to Australia in her first public appearance since Meghan and Harry’s interview,” read.

The Queen may not have set foot in Australia for a decade, but the message here was that she had not been forgotten by her, even amid the latest family uproar.

In an order of service for the event, the Queen wrote: “Throughout my reign, the Royal Australian Air Force has displayed immense dedication to duty and defended our freedom in many conflicts throughout the world. world.”

These words are loved by Australians and she reminds them of her place in their history by referring to her record-breaking reign, during which she has always represented and promoted Australian interests on the world stage.

Is she still as relevant as she was? Well, that will be tested later this year when the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) hopes to capitalize on the fallout from “that” interview with Meghan and Harry.
“The Royal Family has always been presented as the Rock of Gibraltar for all constitutional monarchies,” WARC Chairman Peter FitzSimons told the Sydney Morning Herald, where he is a columnist. “What we are actually seeing is extreme dysfunction and possible racism.” FitzSimons said the group plans to unveil their favorite constitutional changes to sever ties with the royal family by the end of the year.

Many countries abandoned Elizabeth as head of state after gaining independence. But as far as Australia is concerned, the Queen survived the last referendum on her replacement as head of state in 1999 and that was right after Diana’s crisis. Did Meghan and Harry’s interview hurt her more? It’s up to the Australians to decide, but if history teaches us anything, it’s never to underestimate Elizabeth’s power.


Diana’s legacy will be honored in London

The late Princess of Wales will receive one of London’s famous blue plaques later this year. The sign will be placed outside Coleherne Court, her former building in Earl’s Court, west London, where she lived with girlfriends before marrying Prince Charles. Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, thanked English Heritage – the charity that oversees historic buildings and the commemorative plaque project – claiming it was “a very happy place” for her sister. This tribute will no doubt be special for her family, as Diana is recognized in the year she is said to have celebrated her 60th birthday.
Before marrying Prince Charles, Diana Spencer, pictured in 1980, lived at Coleherne Court in London.

Archbishop gives more information on Meghan and Harry’s wedding

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were legally married in their televised wedding, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby confirmed this week. Her remarks further illuminate a comment Meghan made in Oprah’s recent interview, where she mentioned a courtyard wedding in the days leading up to the big event of May 19, 2018. “The legal marriage took place on Saturday. signed the marriage certificate, which is a legal document, and I would have committed a serious criminal offense if I had signed it knowing it was false, ”Welby said in comments reported by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica and confirmed to CNN by Lambeth Palace. “So you can do whatever you like with it. But the legal marriage took place on Saturday, but I will not say what happened in previous meetings, ”the archbishop added.

The royal family also had a lockdown plans

Whether it’s cooking, redecorating, or learning a new skill, many have found new plans to enjoy the endless hours inside – including the Duchess of Cambridge. Catherine has spent the last year working on her own passion project – combining her love of photography with community outreach. Last year, she invited people across the UK to submit portraits they took during the first nationwide lockdown as part of her ‘Hold Still’ initiative. With help from the National Portrait Gallery, 31,000 submissions have been reduced to 100, which will be published in a new book in May, it was announced this week. The Duchess wrote in the book’s introduction that she “wanted to use the power of photography to create a lasting record of what we all went through – to capture the stories of individuals and document moments important to families and families. communities as we lived through the pandemic. “


The Queen has revealed her sadness at having to cancel the traditional Royal Maundy service for the second year in a row due to the pandemic. As “defender of the faith and supreme governor of the Church of England,” the Queen usually marks Holy Week with a service celebrated on the Thursday before Easter Sunday.

This year’s event was to be held at Westminster Abbey in London. Instead, the monarch sent gifts to the 190 people who were reportedly invited this week.

“I am sure you will be sad, like me, that the present circumstances make it impossible to hold this Service. I hope, however, that this Saint-Don will remind you for years to come that your efforts have been truly appreciated.” Queen wrote in a letter to each recipient.

The royal service of the Blessed Virgin is an ancient ceremony that dates back to 600 AD and, for Christians, remembers how Jesus washed the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper. The Queen observes the Blessed Virgin by offering gifts to the elderly offered by the local clergy of all denominations in recognition of their service to the church and to the local community.

During the Queen’s reign, she extended the ritual of holy money beyond London and traveled to various cathedrals and abbeys across the UK to distribute the symbolic gifts. As part of the service, Elizabeth distributes two leather handbags that have been blessed: one red and one white.

Examples of the two scholarships the Queen gave out during the Royal Maundy Service in 2013.

This year’s red wallet features two newly minted coins: a £ 5 coin in honor of the Queen’s upcoming 95th birthday as well as a 50p coin which marks the 50th anniversary of the currency’s decimalization. Historically, the amount of £ 5.50 represents the sovereign’s gift for food and clothing.

The white handbag contains bespoke Virgo silver minted for the occasion in denominations of one, two, three and four silver pennies, which corresponds to its age.

Usually the Queen celebrates Easter weekend privately with her family at Windsor Castle – where she has been locked up with her husband, Philip, and a bubble of their staff since the virus hit last year.

We usually get a glimpse of the monarch as she walks to church on Sunday morning at St George’s Chapel – the beautiful chapel that was built in the late 15th century and is still the scene of many royal baptisms. , weddings and funerals – accompanied by some members of the clan. But the traditional family reunion is unlikely to take place this year, with Covid-19 restrictions preventing more than six people or two households from meeting.

The last traditional service of the Blessed Virgin took place at Saint George's Chapel on April 18, 2019 in Windsor.

The Queen may choose to worship in private – which she does at the Chapel of All Saints, near the home of Prince Andrew’s Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park – but she will certainly forgo the usual trip to St. George’s to avoid to attract crowds.

Instead of public appearances, it’s possible we’ll still hear from a member of the Royal Family. Prince Charles often recorded special Easter messages to mark the holiday, including participating in the “Abbeycast” podcast last year and sending a video message of support for those persecuted for their faith in 2018.


“How much we missed it and how we can’t wait to be able to live this collective experience again.”

Prince Edward celebrates World Theater Day on March 27

The pandemic has forced the arts to explore the digital realm like never before. And while the online landscape has allowed the World Theater to showcase virtual offerings, many fans – including the 57-year-old Earl of Wessex – look forward to the day when they can return to the small houses.

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