Queen Elizabeth II’s reign will define an era and her death is a defining moment, a renowned historian has said.
Sir Anthony Seldon, a constitutional expert, told Sky News that it is inevitable that the period she was on the throne will be named after her.
But he said that the following time – what Prime Minister Liz Truss said the new Carolean age will be called after King Charles – possibly at least as important or even more important, especially for the long-term future of the monarchy.
He said: “With 15 prime ministers and a monarch you obviously do – it will be known [as that].
“And Charles won’t rule nearly that long, but I think he will be a formative monarch, helping the country adjust to its very different faces.
“2022 is unimaginably different from 1952 in terms of aspirations, standing in the world, sense of identity and makeup.
“We are much more cosmopolitan, much more international. And it’s a… very different country than it used to be,” said Sir Anthony, a former headmaster who has written biographies of six prime ministers and was knighted for his services to education and modern political history.
But, he said, unique challenges lie ahead because of the change of monarch – especially as it comes at the same time as the UK has a new prime minister.
He said: “His monarchy will be, and must be, of extraordinary importance to the survival of the monarchy.
“He will have to show the flexibility and adaptability that he has excelled at.”
Much of that need, he said, stems from the qualities of the woman who has led the state for the past seven decades.
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“We have a change of monarch, and this last monarch has seen the country through 70 years of massive change, from being a great power to a second-rate power with a great empire to the widespread loss of that empire,” added Sir Anthony.
“She has guided the country through this period of stability without revolution or excitement. And she was a great collectible. But the country lost none of it. It has the same territorial integrity when it went in as it did then, and it’s still the point at the heart of the Constitution.
“But it’s the crown that is, not the person. She’s dead and now the new person takes over and then all eyes will be on him.
“You can say we are a democracy and therefore … the monarch doesn’t matter. The monarch plays a role. We are a democracy and a monarchy at the same time.
“We just had a six-week leadership competition in the conservativewho will be our next prime minister. But the queen died, and immediately King Charles became king. The queen is dead. Long live the king. And that’s the point. This is the continuity that has been the backbone of this country since 1066. Thats how it works.
“It’s extraordinary… that we started this week with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister and the Queen as Queen and we ended it with two different players.
“Today we have never changed a head of government or a head of state.