When a Queen Dies

A Comparison of the Effects of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth’s Deaths


Drawing of the Imperial State Crown with angel wings

Mallory Wanta, Hour 5B

When you think of the United Kingdom, what comes to mind? Their accents? Tea? The monarchy? Queen Elizabeth II was the most recent monarch to pass away on September 8, 2022. According to the Newsela article, “Queen Elizabeth II, who reigned over the United Kingdom for 70 years, dies at 96,” Elizabeth surpassed Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch in 2015. There is only one ruler between the two queens, King Edward. So, the time since Victoria’s rule was not too long ago. She died on January 22, 1901. A monarch’s death is a major event that comes with many changes. What occurs when a queen dies? Are there any lasting effects? How much has the world changed since the death of Queen Victoria?

Effects Across the Country

A British monarch’s death sends ripple effects across the country. The aforementioned Newsela article states that Queen Elizabeth was “the monarch who was the source of calm in the United Kingdom during more than seven decades of rule.” In addition, her approval rating was 90 percent in 2012. Elizabeth was loved by a majority of the British citizens, so they were saddened by her passing. She was a public figure for such a long time and suddenly losing that can make citizens feel uneasy.

Queen Victoria’s death caused a similar feeling. Mr. Cibaric, an AP European History teacher at SPASH, says Victoria was much like Queen Elizabeth. She was seen as a moral standard of British behavior. Citizens thought she was a strong, compassionate ruler and was a source of pride for many. Both queens were generally liked and seen as a symbol of their country.

After a British monarch dies, the person next in line takes over immediately. Without a powerful figure like a monarch, the country could be seen as weak. This is a reason why that change is quickly done. The aforementioned Newsela article states that Elizabeth’s eldest son, Prince Charles, will become the next ruler and will be titled King Charles III. This also occurred when Queen Victoria died. Mr. Cibaric said that after her death, her son Edward took over, which is Queen Elizabeth’s father.

When Queen Victoria died, the job changed, says Mr. Cibaric. Six years after her death, the House of Lords had their decision making power removed. They lost their political power and made institutions more democratic. Nobility and royalty now took a back seat. The House of Lords still does not have the power it once had. 

According to Mr. Cibaric, the biggest effect after Queen Victoria’s death was British women getting the right to vote. Before this, people were advocating for this change to occur. 

There was another crucial change that occurred because of Queen Victoria’s passing: it was the end of an age. Mr. Cibaric states the Victorian Age was named after her. Her death was a turning over of a social and political age never seen again. This shows how important Victoria’s death was during that time. Only time will tell if Queen Elizabeth’s passing will have a similar outcome.

British Economy

The British economy will experience changes because of Queen Elizabeth’s passing. The Le Monde article, “How Queen Elizabeth II’s death could impact the UK economy,” by Clémence Apetogbor states that this year will have two more holidays than usual and it “has the potential to be more damaging for the economy … as the hotel and tourism sector is unlikely to benefit … but many businesses will still close.” This means that the economy could suffer because of Elizabeth’s passing.

According to the aforementioned Newsela article, Elizabeth died two days after appointing Liz Truss as the new Prime Minister. Though the queen was close to death, she was dedicated and still performed her queenly duties. Apetogbor wrote that Liz Truss had an aid plan for British households that was supposed to be discussed on September 13, but was delayed due to the Queen’s passing. Another emergency budget is also being delayed. In addition, the article states that ”the country is in a 10-day period of mourning,” which puts British institutions on hold. Putting the institutions on hold for such a long time will affect the passing of acts, laws, and any other government things. This could affect many people who need help from the government.

However, there is a possibility for a positive outcome. Apetogbor also brings up that major royal events boost tourism. Sales from souvenirs could increase by 60 million pounds (just over 69 million euros) in connection with the funeral. This is a positive thing because it increases business for the country.

Effects on the World

Image of Queen Elizabeth (Left) and Queen Victoria (Right). From https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/eight-things-didnt-know-queen-victoria-queen-elizabeth

Even though there are numerous national effects, a British monarch’s death had global effects. Mr. Cibaric says that Queen Victoria was the empress of India. She was in charge of the whole empire. There were also mournful celebrations in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, colonies in Africa, Hong Kong, and India. A lot of the world mourned her passing. Victoria was a powerful figure around the world, so her death affects those places. They don’t have her as a figure anymore.

The aforementioned Newsela article states Queen Elizabeth was “the monarch of the Commonwealth of 15 Realms and more than 50 nations, Elizabeth kept Britain closely linked to its former territories.” This is similar to my explanation above about Queen Victoria. After Elizabeth’s death, the places she ruled over will have to adjust to a new ruler.

The previously mentioned article by Apetogbor discusses that there is a 2-day holiday for Elizabeth’s funeral. In addition, national mourning day is on September 19. Though at first, this does not seem like it would affect the rest of the world, it does. When a well-known figure who has been around for a long time dies, the whole world will discuss it. Her death was talked about on the news in many places around the world. As talked about before, tourism increases when major royal events happen. This means people will be visiting the UK to be there for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.

It is important to know about what is happening in other places of the world as it allows us to understand each other. In addition, the world has changed a lot since Queen Victoria’s passing. In the future, we will see the impact of Queen Elizabeth’s death.