Queen Elizabeth and Britain's Leaders

Queen Elizabeth and Britain's Leaders

2022, History  -   Leave a Comment
Ratings: 6.67/10 from 9 users.

On September 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at 96 years old after an incredible 70 years as the ruling monarch. Her passing leaves a void in the collective consciousness of almost everyone in the United Kingdom, be you a royalist or not, with her being the only Queen most of the population has known. No one else has her political experience, despite having no political power. However, she had a vital constitutional purpose: inviting newly elected prime ministers to form her government. In her seven decades on the throne, she did just that, inviting 15 British prime ministers to form her government and to serve under her, starting with Winston Churchill and ending with Liz Truss, the current UK PM, who she met two days before her death.

Since 1952, she held weekly meetings with her Prime Ministers at Buckingham Palace so they could give a status report to her Majesty. What they talked about in these meetings was sacrosanct. Both the Queen and her Prime Ministers would keep their talks highly confidential, and they were often the highlight of the week.

But, due to the length of her reign and the number of different personalities that served as Prime Ministers, it could not be helped if she experienced rivalries, petty irritations, secret power struggles and even genuine and lasting affection and friendship with many of them.

Produced for Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee celebration on April 2022, six months before her death, DW's film "Queen Elizabeth II and Britain's Leaders" breaks down her fascinating relationships with her Prime Ministers. Her first one was Winston Churchill, the titan who led England during the dark days of World War Two. He was a massive fan of the Queen, having known her as a child when he served her father, King George VI.

And while she generally got along with most of them, there were a few she had "difficulties" dealing with, notably Margaret Thatcher, the UK's first female prime minister who served from 1979 to 1990, who the Queen found "uncaring". She also had slight issues with Tony Blair, who served from 1997 to 2007 and was the prime minister when a major crisis hit the Royal Family: Princess Diana's death.

One of her favorites was Harold Wilson, her 5th prime minister and the first who was a member of the Labour Party. Many warned her that he was anti-Monarchy and was a socialist, but the two became lifelong friends, as he treated her like an equal and a member of his cabinet.

Looking back on her life, most of the prime ministers who served under her and are still alive today have great and deep respect for her, calling her both warm, funny, and intelligent, as well as having a deep awareness of the current issues. Conversations with her were also considered cathartic and always welcome. After dedicating 70 years of her life to service, the dignity she ruled with will be missed and potentially never be replicated.

Directed by: Katharina Wolff, Larissa Klinker

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