The queen is dead. Why are we so fascinated by the British monarchy?

Prince Charles III is now King Charles III of England after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away Sept. 8. She was on the throne for 70 years.  

Queen+Elizabeth+II+on+a+state+visit+to+Berlin+in+2015.+The+queens+death+on+Sept.+12%2C+2022+at+the+age+of+96+set+tongues+wagging+on+campus.+For+a+while%2C+it+was+all+students+could+talk+about.

CREDIT: POLIZEI BERLIN | CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE

Queen Elizabeth II on a state visit to Berlin in 2015. The queen’s death on Sept. 12, 2022 at the age of 96 set tongues wagging on campus. For a while, it was all students could talk about.

Prince Charles III is now King Charles III of England after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away on Sept. 8. She was on the throne for 70 years.  

American teenagers, if my classmates are any indication, seemed to be obsessed with the sad news. Word spread from room to room like wildfire. “OMG! The queen is dead.”

During nutrition, it was all students were talking about. It completely blew up during the third period. The only thing is, we go to an American high school that is 5,452 miles away from Buckingham Palace. 

It wasn’t really that shocking if you think about it. After all, she was 96 years old and her health had been steadily deteriorating. But still, people were not prepared for the news.

We have never had a monarch in the United States. We have never experienced the death of a king or a queen. We have even never had a president who has been in office for more than 12 years, even though Donald Trump wanted to anoint himself president for life. 

Maybe the longevity of the queen is a major part of what fascinates us. Queen Elizabeth II has been alive and ruled during our entire lives, our parents’ entire lives, and many of our grandparents’ entire lives. We don’t know anything different. Even though we don’t live in England and she has never ruled over us, we still know her very well. That gave us some comfort.

We’re also fascinated by the fantasy world that we associate with royalty. Young children are told fanciful tales about princes and princesses and kings and queens and castles and crowns, though the reality of royalty is filled with scandal and corruption.

Through our modern lens, we see that the monarchy has presided over terrible things. The Queen came from a legacy of racism, tax evasion, and colonization. 

When the news broke, I was meeting with a teacher during nutrition. I had no clue about the Queen’s passing. As soon as the first person walked into the classroom that was the first and only thing they could talk about. I was shocked.

Why did I care so much? It has zero impact on me. I was just shocked that someone who seemed immortal died on a random Thursday morning. None of my friends really cared about her until then, and neither did I. In a rush of adrenaline I found myself jumping all over the place, telling everyone the news. 

Four hours later, I felt nothing.

As the days have passed and the talk has died down, I don’t really know how I feel — especially about the new King. I do know that Charles was unfair to his first wife, the late Princess Diana. Does the United Kingdom really need a ruler who openly cheated on his wife? What does that say about how is he going to treat his kingdom?

But, I do want to give the man a chance. Right now it seems like the entire world is on King Charles III’s shoulders. Let’s see how he does.