The end of an era: Queen Elizabeth II has died
The chant of “God Save the Queen” broke out outside the gates of Buckingham Palace on Thursday night. On September 8, Queen Elizabeth II, monarch of the United Kingdom and head of the Commonwealth, was announced dead at the age of 96.
Upon his death, his son Prince Charles immediately became king. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is expected to assume Charles’ title as Prince of Wales.
It marks the end of a historic 70-year reign – the longest of any monarch in British history and the second longest in world history after King Louis XIV of France. Over her nine decades, the Queen had lived through countless defining moments, from the Second World War (she was the only female member of the British Royal Family to serve in the Armed forces), to the decolonization of Africa and the Caribbean, to the invention of the World Wide Web. Ascended to the throne at just 25 years old, she was known for her life of service, dedication and duty.
His reign has also been instrumental in promoting bilateral relations between China and the UK. In fact, Queen Elizabeth was the first British ruler visiting China in 1986, following the agreement that Hong Kong’s sovereignty would be returned to China in 1997. Since his first and only visit to the mainland, China has become one of the biggest trading partners while the UK has “paved the way for China’s relationship with the Western world”, as former Chinese Ambassador to the UK Put the.
Earlier this year, President Xi Jinping bliss the leader over 70 years on the throne as well as 50 years of diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level. “I hope the two sides will take this opportunity to deepen friendship and mutual trust, expand exchanges and cooperation, [and] work together to promote international solidarity.
The Queen received Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015 at Buckingham Palace. pic.twitter.com/ocqODTuInT
— MA Hui 马辉 (@MahuiChina) September 8, 2022
In China, news of his death began to spread on Weibo. As of two hours into the news, the hashtag “The Queen of England has died” (#英国女王去世#) has received over 230 million views, with netizens leaving comments like “another era has ended” and “She is part of the story.
However, other messages point out that his death comes at a difficult time for the UK. As one Global Times reporter wrote, “She leaves at a time when UK GDP has been overtaken by India, inflation and strikes add to concerns, and the world’s most illiterate Prime Minister has been inaugurated…the UK is not where it is anymore.that was when she ascended the throne.
Indeed, the relationship between London and Beijing have cooled down in the last decade. Britain has gone from friend to fierce critic, lambasting Beijing’s business practices, banning Huawei from joining the UK’s 5G network on spying grounds and boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympics due to alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang. Now the appointment of Liz Truss as Prime Minister – one of the Queen’s latest acts – could heighten tensions as she takes a tougher stance on China.
It remains to be seen what the world will look like without this emblematic leader. His reign opened up a (albeit complicated) friendship with China; perhaps his passing will signify a new chapter in UK-China relations.