In memory of Queen Elizabeth II

Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare, Downton Abbey, Queen Elizabeth II: all of them filled the walls of my Irish-Italian household. What was it that made Queen Elizabeth so important to us? What made her the one who led me to be named Rose Elizabeth Androwich and my younger sister to almost be named Elizabeth instead of Emily?

Queen Elizabeth was the person who inspired her country of England and stood as a figure of stability for 70 years.  Her father was King George V’s second son and became King when his brother abdicated the title to marry an American divorcee. It was then that Queen Elizabeth II became the next in line for the throne. On the Buckingham Palace balcony, she greeted them with her royal wave. During World War II, she was the one who delivered a public address.

Queen Elizabeth II showed a commitment to her country throughout her life even as her family life changed drastically overnight. Her life changed forever when her father passed away in his sleep at the age of 56. Queen Elizabeth II was with her husband Philip, who was formerly the Prince of Greece before he relinquished his title.

It was then that Princess Elizabeth became the woman we know today as Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch. Her address to the nation showed how she wanted to be a person that the people of England trusted in. As a monarch of 70 years, her importance to England makes her loss even more difficult.

After her death, England entered a mourning period that would last ten days. Elizabeth II’s reign relates to American politics due to the considerable amount of presidents she met. From Truman to Biden, she met with 13 successive Presidents. When she met Truman, she was still Princess Elizabeth, as she was crowned Queen a few months later.

Queen Elizabeth, even after having met with several politicians, never shared her own political stances aside from two comments interpreted to be about Brexit. This stance is in accordance with the rule that royals must be apolitical. Queen Elizabeth encouraged civility and respect in the first speech. In the second speech, she reaffirmed the idea of respecting someone who is different from you.

Queen Elizabeth was more than just a figure of stability. She was involved in hundreds of British charities and helped raise 1.4 billion pounds. She was the patron of 510 charities including Cancer Research UK and the British Red Cross. The Queen promoted a culture of supporting charities with time and money.

The impact of Queen Elizabeth extends to her role in England, other countries and charities. There is also the cultural significance of her life. The television show “The Crown” follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II with some apparent dramatization.

Outside of the show, there is a discussion regarding Queen Elizabeth as a style icon. Most have reached the conclusion that she was a style icon through her use of bright colors. Additionally, she would wear one color every day from head to toe. She shows there is a connection between the royal family and style.

Take Johnnie Boden, an English designer who ships overseas to America and the owner of the place where I got a rugby dress with a British flag on the collar. The website mentions royal figures who have worn pieces from him. It is also overwhelmingly seen that clothes the royal family wears will almost instantly sell out. Queen Elizabeth reflects the everyday connections in the world.

The love for this woman is apparent in the public fascination with her life. Even the Welsh Corgis show how her life touched the world in a number of ways.

Contact Rose at


Long live the Queen

The Queen was a Bada**! I know that’s a controversial statement. Let’s face it, Lilibet wasn’t perfect but considering all the things this petite (standing at 5’3”) woman accomplished in her life, how can you disagree? She may have been small in stature but not in will and honor. 

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was the longest reigning monarch in English history. Her reign went from February 6, 1952, till her death last Thursday, Sept. 8. Elizabeth reigned for a total of 70 years and 127 days. Her reign consisted of many firsts and trailblazing moments, both in general and for women. To name a few, Queen Elizabeth II was the first British monarch to address the U.S. Congress, the first British monarch to go to mainland China, the first British monarch to break protocol to honor the lives of the victims of 9/11 and she even helped get an act passed in the U.K. to alter the line of succession.  

When Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1952 after the death of her father King George VI, she was only 25 years old. Before she officially ascended however, Elizabeth was still setting precedents. When Elizabeth, still a princess, turned 18 in 1944, WWII had been going on for five years already. Elizabeth, feeling the need to support her country, enlisted in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), which was the women’s branch of the British Army. Elizabeth began her time in ATS as a second subaltern and was later promoted to Junior Commander, which was equivalent to a Captain. She started out training as a mechanic and later became qualified in a driving and vehicle maintenance course. A newspaper at the time dubbed her “Princess Auto Mechanic,” as noted by The National World War II Museum. Following her service, the Princess gave a speech on her twenty-first birthday in which she dedicated her life to the service of the Commonwealth, according to the official site of the British Royal Family. Her Majesty the Queen said, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” Who among us, at the age of twenty one, could or even would dedicate their life to the service of their country, putting the country and its needs above their own? 

The Queen has always been up to date on the latest technology trends. She gave the first televised Christmas address in 1957, and even allowed her coronation ceremony to be televised for the world to watch. It was the first televised ceremony of its kind with 27 million people in the U.K., out of the 36 million population, watching the broadcast and 11 million who listened to it on the radio. Elizabeth was also the first monarch to tweet. On October 24, 2014, she tweeted, “It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.” 

Queen Elizabeth II was never one to shy away from her people, so it should come as no surprise to you that she was the first member of the Royal Family to take part in a ‘Royal Walkabout.’ While on a royal tour of Australia and New Zealand with Prince Phillip in 1970, Queen Elizabeth II broke centuries of tradition when she walked right up to the crowds of people to meet them in person, rather than wave at them from a safe distance. She walked through the streets of Sydney, Australia greeting the many onlookers. Since her original stroll in 1970, ‘the Walkabout’ has become a regular habit for the British Royal family from Prince Charles and Princess Diana to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

This was not the only time the Queen has broken centuries of protocol, however. On September 13, 2001, just two days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II broke protocol once again and “ordered the daily ceremonial parade to break a 600-year tradition to show solidarity with America in its time of great loss.” The Queen ordered the Coldstream guards to play the Star-Spangled Banner. This was the first and only time in U.K. history that this command has been made.  

Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II experienced many firsts and many Royal tours. In 1986, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British sovereign to enter mainland China. According to a New York Times article from October 13, 1986,“The [Queen’s] visit comes not two years after the two countries agreed on the future of the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong, and during a time of increasing British-Chinese trade”. Not since King George III sent an Embassy to China in 1792, has a monarch tried to contact the eastern power.

Years later, in May of 2011, Queen Elizabeth II would be the first British Monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland in 100 years. Queen Elizabeth’s visit, during which she expressed her “sincere thoughts and deep sympathy” for the victims of the troubled Anglo-Irish past, was celebrated as the beginning of a new era of friendship between the Irish Republic and Britain.

Another Royal visit in July of 1991 would help her secure yet another first. During a 13-day visit to the United States in 1991, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to address a joint session of Congress more than 200 years after the United States won its independence from the British Empire. The Queen also “touched on the “special relationship” between Britain and the U.S., noting that her country hoped to be a part of “a unified Europe that would work in harmony with the United States.”

In the fight for women’s rights Queen Elizabeth II was always a fearless advocate and in 2013 she had a chance to prove that once again. In 2013, “the Succession to the Crown Act amended the provisions in the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement to end the system of male primogeniture, under which a younger son can displace an elder daughter in the line of succession,” as noted by the official British Royal Family site. While it’s true that the Queen did not directly vote on this amendment, it is widely known that without Queen Elizabeth’s cooperation and support, the legislation might have failed.

Throughout her 70 plus years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II remained reliable and steadfast, proving to be England’s literal ‘stiff upper lip.’ When Queen Elizabeth II rose to power, Britain was in a time of instability and uncertainty. Before her father became King George VI, his brother King Edward VIII first abdicated the throne leaving it to his shy, reluctant and unprepared younger brother who would become King George VI. Britain didn’t truly regain its stability until Elizabeth sat on the throne. Some have said that even with all her accomplishments, Queen Elizabeth II’s greatest accomplishment is the period of strength and balance that Britain enjoyed during her reign.  

To end with one last first, Queen Elizabeth II is the first and only British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. A Platinum Jubilee celebrates the 70th year a monarch spends on the throne. On June 2, 2022, the Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee. Queen Elizabeth II was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 1952 until her death last Thursday. 

From being dubbed “Princess Auto Mechanic” for her time in the war, to supporting the Crown Act of 2013 which opens doors for future female royals, Queen Elizabeth II has always pushed her own boundaries and those of others, fighting for the betterment of the world, making her a legend and a bada**. 

Long Live the Queen. 

You can contact Meghan at

The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


UK Diplomat Catherine Arnold visits University

The University of Notre Dame welcomed Catherine Arnold as a guest speaker at the Eck Visitor Center on Sept. 12.

Arnold is a British academic administrator and former UK diplomat. Since Oct. 2019, she has been the Master of St Edmund’s College at the University of Cambridge. Arnold is the fifteenth person to hold that post and the first woman.

After being introduced by vice president and associate provost for internationalization, Michael Pippenger, Arnold gave a speech reflecting on the roles of academic institutions and religion in shaping ethical, global leaders.

Arnold used the example of the recently late Queen Elizabeth II of England to reflect on change and constancy.

“’I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong,’” she quoted from the British monarch. “Even before taking the reins of power, she proved to be an exemplary leader.”

Arnold said she believed human nature was the primary obstacle to leadership and unity.

“As technology changes all around us, humans remain stubbornly constant,” she told the audience.

She specifically provided one of her alma maters, Cambridge, as an example of how allowing a Catholic influence through its St. Edmund’s college would strangle free thought.

“Both [the church and the college] had a fear of change,” Arnold commented. “It is not enough to hold a world-class degree… indeed, there is more room in educational establishments other than just academic fundamentals.”

She followed by saying that Notre Dame is a leading example of how the combination of mind and heart can be accomplished.

Pippenger said he sees this theme at work in his duties overseeing Notre Dame international gateways and their goal to attract parts of the world not traditionally attracted. He said he calls Notre Dame an “experiment of globalization.”

Through discussion, Arnold and Pippenger said they agreed that by going out into the world and training to be a global citizen, students can recognize how religion plays into education, free speech, public policy, ethical business practice and other areas.

Arnold said she hopes Notre Dame will foster more “conscious leaders.” She said she believes that it is crucial to train leaders who understand their impact on others and that a conscious leader must be comfortable and resolved in making decisions that exclude others.

“The more power you have, the more you realize that there is often no right or wrong answer; you almost always exclude someone,” she explained.

Arnold also was able to provide the Observer with some guidance for Notre Dame students, connecting her lecture themes with real-world advice.

“Don’t ever listen to just one person’s piece of advice,” she said. “Seek out different people’s perspectives, and then continue to press both them and yourself with existential ‘why’ and ‘so what’ questions.”


University students in London react to Queen Elizabeth II’s death

LONDON — Outside Buckingham Palace Thursday evening, a crowd began to gather. A press release from the palace earlier that day revealed Queen Elizabeth’s doctors were concerned for her health and advised her to stay under medical supervision while she stayed at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. 

“I was surprised when I heard the news, but I honestly thought she was going to be okay,” Toby Kult, a Notre Dame junior who is part of the London Global Gateway program this semester, said. “Everyone was freaking out, but I thought she was going to pull through because she’s the queen and she’s immortal.”

But at exactly 6:30 p.m., the Union Jack that flies above Buckingham Palace was lowered to half mast, and an official announcement from the palace was fixed upon its gates. 

“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the statement read. “The King and Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and return to London tomorrow.”

Upon her death at age 96, Queen Elizabeth II was both the longest-lived British monarch and the longest-ruling monarch in British history. She ascended to the throne in 1952 and was subsequently coronated in 1953.

On Feb. 6, 2022, she became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, honoring her 70-year reign. Within this time frame, she held the throne through major world events such as the end of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the end of the apartheid in South Africa, the United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The longevity of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign touches the hearts of many British citizens, including Notre Dame junior Arabella Baker and her family. 

“The queen was like no other world leader because other leaders have an expiration date,” Baker said. “She’s been a leading figure when it comes to helping the country move forward through times of trouble. She was a resilient figure, and I think that’s why she meant so much to the British people.”

According to Bloomberg News, a woman laid the first bouquet of flowers in front of the palace at 5 p.m. on Thursday. By 8 p.m., there were thousands of people gathered outside the palace.

Caitlin Papalia, a Notre Dame junior studying in London this semester, went to Buckingham Palace with other Notre Dame students soon after the death of the queen had been announced. 

“The mood was very solemn. It was an unspoken thing that a really big thing had happened,” Papalia said. “I’ve been at Buckingham Palace in the past when there’s a lot of noise and bustle, but this was completely different.” 

The crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace Thursday night. Credit: Gabby Beechert, The Observer.

Mourners pushed through a tightly-packed crowd to place flowers outside the front gates. Those who couldn’t push through passed their bouquets to the front. Despite the size of the crowd, there was not much noise. The crowd stayed even as it began to pour. Instead of leaving, mourners opened their umbrellas and put up their hoods. 

Buckingham Palace announced that the former queen’s funeral will take place Monday, Sept. 19 in Westminster Abbey at 11 a.m. During the four-day period before the funeral, the queen’s casket will lie in state in Westminster Hall, giving the public the opportunity to pay their respects. The date of the funeral has also been declared a bank holiday by her eldest son, now King Charles III.

Contact Gabby Beechert at