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8 September 2022

Andrew Marr: the Queen’s death will shake us all

Our political editor reflects on the Queen’s remarkable life and legacy.

By Andrew Marr

Andrew Marr was speaking on his LBC show, “Tonight With Andrew Marr”, moments before the Queen’s death was announced. The below is an edited transcript of his words.

I’ve been reflecting on some of the more recent pictures of the Queen where, of course, she has – as any old person has – the lines on her face. And I think the lines on someone’s face tell you a lot. And there are so many laughter lines around her eyes.

This is somebody who in private is very funny, can be very dry, quite biting, and enjoys life very much. But we live in this world where we are all encouraged to be ourselves, as vigorously and outspoken as we can be: a very individualistic “us for ourselves” kind of culture. And it seems to me the Queen has always gone in exactly the opposite way. She subdues her personality, she presses down who she really is because of the role – the job that she believes was given to her by God, quite literally. And I think it’s very hard to think of many other examples in the modern world of somebody for whom the good life is suppressing your real personality.

A fragile kingdom

We’re talking about a woman who is absolutely central in Britain to our sense of ourselves, who we are.

We are challenged in all sorts of ways at the moment in this country. It may well be that the UK breaks up, that Scotland goes its way, Ireland becomes united again. We’ve had all the economic and political challenges and threats and so forth. But I think if and when the Queen does leave us, then we will be shaken in a way we can’t yet quite understand or appreciate.

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A “devout Queenist”

In a way, as a country, we have been very, very lucky. We’re a disputatious lot, we’re a stroppy lot. We like having a go at each other and we like our own opinions. And we have had the great good luck to have, as the constitutional monarch, somebody who is prepared to completely suppress her opinions. Her son, another matter.

I am not a huge enthusiast, in theory, for the constitutional monarchy. There are better ways than the hereditary principle of arranging our affairs. But I am a devout Queenist, particularly this evening.

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