Queen Elizabeth – The Bad Lady

king george vi

King George VI was King of England and the dominions of the British Empire in the early part of the thirteenth century until his death in April 1952. He was also the last Emperor of India till August 1947, when the British Raj was dissolution. The thirteenth century saw major advancements in the field of medicine where doctors like John Snowe, who lived in the sixteenth century, brought the knowledge of many tropical diseases to the world. The first recorded description of medical science by someone other than the medical practitioner was published by the English traveler Sir Walter Pater. He described a new way of treating smallpox in 1595.

The year following World War II, King George VI abdicated his throne, and his replacement as the first reigning British monarch was her son King Edward. He did not attend the Diamond Jubilee celebrations because he was away on official affairs. It was not until 5 June that he took part in the celebrations. His absence was noted at that time, but the British press overlooked it, apparently believing that he had already returned to India. He went back to India on 1 July, and the celebrations began almost immediately.

King George VI

A lion looking at the camera

Queen Elizabeth’s reign was not short of achievements. However, there is one aspect of her reign which is often credited for being responsible for the formation of Canada. On her accession to the throne of her father and husband, the Protectorates of Upper Canada (present-day Ontario), as granted by the Second World War, she gave leave to select the first two provinces to be incorporated in the new country. Her choice was based on her conviction that “the best of both worlds” would be to form a country with strong British connections and a strong French influence as well. To this end, the selection of British and French provinces was not accidental but the culmination of a long and careful process that had been underway since the previous year.

In spite of her obvious affection for the British Crown, Queen Elizabeth continued to cultivate her own image as the queen who decided which parts of Canada should be included in the new nation. When the time came for her to announce the selection of those countries to become the first provinces in what would be one of the largest and most powerful nations in the world, she chose not to use the name “King George” but “regulator of Canada,” a title which conveyed much of her affection for the British people but which conformed to the administrative procedures which required an imperial title. In doing so, Queen Elizabeth preserved the unity of her realm and demonstrated her willingness to respect the popular will during the Second World War. This, in turn, served to make her the most popular figure in Canada and the first person to be portrayed on Canadian currency.

A Much Ado

King George VI proved himself to be a very astute and understanding monarch. After his accession as king, he immediately set about rectifying many of the injustices committed during the previous regime. By appointing a few women to high posts in the government, he hoped to improve a lot of women across the land. As it happened, though some of these appointments met with criticism from conservative members of his kingdom, the effect they had on the people was profound. Much more was accomplished during the next term of King George VI than had been done during any of his predecessors’ reigns.

In 1940, just before the onset of World War II, King George VI was faced with a situation that could have easily been exploited to serve his own interests. At this juncture, there were several clear indications that the crown would soon be falling into the wrong hands. Disregarding protocol, the deposed Queen Mother had made inappropriate comments to the assembled royal assembly indicating her desire that her son, the current King George VI, would succeed her. The deposed Queen’s remarks were widely public and caused a great deal of embarrassment to the entire British establishment. In an effort to prevent a situation where she might claimant the throne for herself, George VI had taken steps to prevent another crisis by consulting with a professional, high-ranking speech therapist. This step was thought to be prudent since it might be interpreted as a sign that the King wanted to ease up on his promise to abdicate the throne if necessary.

Although the deposed Queen did ultimately regain the throne, World War II arrived and changed everything. Despite all outward gestures of affection towards her son, the apparent conviction that he was fit to occupy the throne prompted mounting clamor for her return to the British throne. There was to be no peace in the kingdom until a new king was seated on the throne. As the world war approached, it became clear to all that the impending succession crisis was about to lead to one of two scenarios; either a rapid victory for the British or a rapid collapse of the Empire.

Summing Up

For her part, Queen Elizabeth did not take the opportunity provided by her husband to abdicate her own right to the throne. Instead, she took her rightful place as the constitutional Queen consort under the regency of her son, the current King George V. The veteran royalist and conservative press made public believe that the Queen was unfit to rule because of her connection (or, more correctly, association) with the German king, Bismarck. Her loyalists, however, claimed that the Queen’s loyalties to her son, George IV, trumped her desire to become a British monarch. Whatever the true reason behind her actions, the consequences were disastrous for the entire British Empire and her personal standing as a national hero.

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