Queen Elizabeth II Showed Monarchy's Surprising Resilience

The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and the praise pouring in from almost all quarters for her 70 years of service make a powerful case, even for small-r republican and small democratic Americans, for the institution of constitutional monarchy. There is much to be said for having a head of state who is politically neutral, culturally traditional but open to popular innovation, personally embodying the traditional strengths of a nation.

Such a monarch does not govern in the sense of making policy. But in exercising her prerogatives, as described by the Victorian era journalist Walter Bagehot, to be consulted, to encourage and warn, she holds elected heads of government accountable under cover of confidentiality.

The late queen’s former prime ministers affirm the worth of her counsel, as have many leaders of the Commonwealth of Nations, which expanded from eight to 56 members on her watch. She quietly extended the Anglosphere heritage of the rule of law and personal freedoms and, like her predecessors going back to Queen Victoria, has opposed racial prejudice and discrimination. Apartheid South Africa left the Commonwealth in 1961, and Nelson Mandela rejoined it in 1994.

In an era of rising or persistent nationalism, monarchy can provide a

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