The death of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8 marked the passing of an age.
Reigning for more than 70 years, the Queen was forged in the Second World War, which broke out when she was just 13 years old. When she was 18, in 1944, she joined the women’s branch of the army and trained as a mechanic.
She was the last surviving head of state to have served during the Second World War.
Her devotion to service, her country and her people was undeniable, a trait that she seems to have passed on to her son, the now King Charles. But he also has the responsibility, if the monarchy is to continue, to drag it into the 21st Century and make it relevant to today’s society.
Because if Charles continues to follow the path laid out by his mother, her reserve, some would say devotion to tradition, the monarchy may be relegated to the role of an anachronistic tourist attraction.
The power of the monarchy doesn’t rest in political power anymore — that has been continually decreasing over the last few centuries. The true power left to the British monarchy is its ability to influence. In the age of influencers, that could make the monarchy more relevant than it has been for a very long time.
At 73 years old, King Charles III may be a little old to take full advantage of this, but the next generation, including his eldest son William, now the Prince of Wales, was raised in the Internet age and has the tools to take advantage of the possibilities.
Imagine, if you will, an activist monarchy, not letting royal reserve and past definitions of their roles hold them back. Imagine them using their power and influence to lead the discussion and change minds about environmental issues, global warming, the war in Ukraine and more.
Queen Elizabeth represented a time that is long past and tied the British monarchy to that time. What King Charles, Prince William and the others make of the monarchy now remains to be seen. Let’s hope they do some good with all that influence.