Prime Minister Boris Johnson may have sent his “best wishes” to President Trump and the First Lady. “Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus,” said the premier who himself barely survived had a nasty bout of it. Similar sentiments were sent by such leaders as Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Putin, General Secretary Xi, and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
What, though, of Britain’s monarch, Elizabeth II? Oh, uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. Her heir, Prince Charles, contracted coronavirus in the spring and quarantined himself until he was hale. Meanwhile, the Queen has postponed her official engagements and taken shelter behind the thick stone walls and batiments of Windsor Castle.
Not that the troubles of her realm are at bay. Her grandson and his wife, Harry and Meghan, broadcast an ABC-TIME “National Voter Registration Day” video. Despite protestations of its non-partisan message — a royal prerequisite — few deny its intent as Democratic Party propaganda. The electoral message is an embarrassment to Buckingham Palace.
After all, what world leader is more effusive of Elizabeth than President Trump? Recriminations would arise were Harry and Meghan to break the “Megxit” agreement that they struck “The Firm” before decamping to the Coast. Mr. Trump uncharacteristically dismissed the affront, remarking he was “not a fan” of Ms. Markle but wishing Harry “a lot of luck.”
Said the President: “He’s going to need it.”
Not only for that reason, Her Majesty may look with some regret on recent politics in the United States. In Mr. Trump, she may muse — your diarist is but speculating here — Americans have a leader who knows what he’s about. He campaigned in 2016 to make his country great again and fulfilled many of his electoral pledges. He promises to do so again in 2020.
Her own First Minister? Not so much. He vowed to get Brexit done and to unshackle her kingdom for the sclerotic grasp of Brussels. In March 2016, during the run-up to the June Brexit referendum, there was at least one report that Her Majesty Herself favored independence (“Queen Backs Brexit” was the wood in the London Sun). The New York Sun called it “Elizabeth’s Finest Hour.”
Yet having reclaimed Britain’s independence, Mr. Johnson has proceeded to give these powers wholesale to Whitehall bureaucrats — with the promise of more to come. While antagonizing the devolved assemblies, to boot. Not for this Queen, I’ll warrant, is the pandering to cultural Marxists and their agenda to take down Britain’s tributes to its traditions and noble heroes.
If Downing Street is going dotty, where is Elizabeth going to be able to look for encouragement after November 3? Does she cast neutrality from her heart and hope for an electoral victory by Mr. Trump? And for Republicans to make a strong showing in Congress? Chances for a bilateral trade agreement appear better under a Republican administration (and Congress).
So might the Queen lament her premier’s flailing administration? Mr. Johnson is captured by the “woke” culture that threatens everything the Conservative Party professes to honor. And what of the possibility that Mr. Trump might lose? Her Majesty has to be aware that the last Democratic administration, under President Obama, actually opposed the idea of an independent Britain.
Mr. Obama himself urged Britons to reject Brexit, as did the Democratic nominee in 2016, Secretary of State Clinton. Where might a President Biden, not to mention a President Kamala Harris, stand on an British independence? Could Britain end up at the back of the queue the way, say, the last Democdratic president of America said it would go if it opted for independence?
Benjamin Disraeli, whose political imagination gave new inspiration to 19th-century Toryism, would be saddened but not surprised. Disraeli feared the corrosive effects when the values of a global élite displaced the patriotic principles that propelled British success. He realized the value of the crown in cutting across class distinctions, uniting high and low together in a national enterprise.
“The Monarchy of the Tories is more democratic than the Republic of the Whigs,” Dizzy dast declare.
Mr. MacLean, a freelancer based in Nova Scotia, writes the Brexit Diary for The New York Sun.