Liz II, Liz T, and the lingering links of empire

(This is a developing story and will be updated periodically over the next few days. Reminder to my email subscribers to check the website to see the latest version. MH)


Newsweek reports: Why Some People From Ireland, India Are Celebrating Queen’s Death People in countries formerly controlled by Britain, such as India, Ireland, Australia and Nigeria, were quick to point out the monarchy’s role in the subjugation of their countries.

Out of curiosity a checked the Irish Newspaper Archive for coverage of Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. Most of the stories are straightforward. The Irish Press, founded in 1931 by longtime Irish leader Éamon de Valera, included a report that several Dublin cinema owners were kept from showing film coverage of the ceremony by intimation from an unnamed group. The Belfast papers gushed about the event.


The death of Queen Elizabeth II and selection of Liz Truss as the U.K.’s new prime minister are a reminder of how Ireland and Britain remained linked across the Irish Sea.

The queen, 96, made a remarkable state visit to the Republic Ireland in May 2011. It was the first by a reigning monarch since her grandfather, King George V, crossed 100 years earlier, a decade before the island’s partition. Elizabeth made earlier and subsequent visits to Northern Ireland, including a memorable June 2012 handshake with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness, then Sinn Féin deputy first minister of the power-sharing Northern Ireland Assembly.

Michael D. Higgins, president of Ireland, released a statement on the queen’s death. It said, in part:

As we know, the Queen often spoke of how much she enjoyed her own historic State Visit to Ireland in 2011, the first such Visit by a British monarch since Irish independence, and during which she did so much through eloquent word and generous gesture to improve relations between our two islands.

Queen Elizabeth’s Visit was pivotal in laying a firm basis for an authentic and ethical understanding between our countries.  During those memorable few days eleven years ago, the Queen did not shy away from the shadows of the past. Her moving words and gestures of respect were deeply appreciated and admired by the people of Ireland and set out a new, forward looking relationship between our nations – one of respect, close partnership and sincere friendship.

Here’s the queen’s speech:


Truss, who replaced Boris Johnson, is being widely criticized on both sides of the Irish border. In one of her first moves, Truss appointed pro-Brexit lawmaker Steve Baker to a role in the Northern Ireland Office. Unionist displeasure with how Northern Ireland is treated by Brexit trade protocols has kept the Northern Ireland Assembly elected in May from coming to power.

More on Truss and the queen as I update this post.