The death of HM Queen Elizabeth II as seen from the Czech Republic

With the new King on Sunday 22nd March 2010. Photo ‘stolen’ from the Daily Telegraph

As I have mentioned previously, HM Queen Elizabeth II had reigned, until her death on Thursday 8th September 2022, for twenty days longer than I have been alive. She came to the throne on 6th February 1952 following the death of her father King George VI, and I was born on 26th February 1952. Along with over 90% of the current British population, the late Queen is the only head of state that I have ever known.

Therefore, the current wall to wall coverage by the British media and the outpouring of public grief and appreciation of her reign in the UK, is perfectly understandable. But as I have remarked previously at the time of both the wedding of William and Katherine, and at the more recent wedding of Harry and Meghan, the fascination with the British Royal Family here in the Czech Republic is massive, as is the media coverage.

Last Thursday, the Queen’s death was officially announced at 18.30 in the UK, which is 19.30 here in the Czech Republic, just as the main news bulletin on TV Nova was beginning. Normally, the news bulletin lasts for forty minutes followed by ten minutes of sports news and a weather forecast. That night, the bulletin ran for a full hour with the only subject being the life and death of Queen Elizabeth II. Coverage of sport and the weather was completely dropped.

The extensive level of coverage has continued every day since last Thursday. On Sunday evening, the first twenty minutes of the news bulletin was given over to the events happening in Scotland that day. The first fifteen minutes of last night’s bulletin was all about the day’s events in the UK. I suspect TV programmes will be completely rescheduled or cancelled next Monday, in order to cover every possible aspect of the funeral.

On social media, I have previously questioned why there is so much interest in the British Royal Family here in the Czech Republic. After all, we are not even fellow members of of the EU following the stupidity of Brexit. Would Czech people really prefer having an hereditary head of state, even a British royal?

Whilst not wanting to be flippant in what is otherwise meant to be a serious post, I did enjoy a couple of the responses I got when I posed this question, I think at the time of the Harry and Meghan wedding. One, from a Czech friend, was that, ‘Anything would be better than Zeman!’, (the current President), a sentiment with which I would agree. The other, which came from an Austrian-American friend, was that, ‘There are a few Hapsburgs around who would be happy to take on the role’.

It will be interesting to see whether this same level of interest and fascination will continue now that Charles has come to the throne. I shall be watching and listening in the coming months. But what has already happened is that his name has suddenly changed. The Czech media has always insisted on calling the late Queen, Alžbeta II, the Czech form of Elizabeth. But her children were always referred to as Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward. But now Charles has become King, suddenly he is Karel III 😉

I intend to write another post regarding the late Queen being, ‘an agent for peace and reconciliation’, as my Diocesan Bishop has put it. But in the meantime, it has been fun telling Czech friends that, not only have I met the new King, I’ve also had to preach with Charles and Camilla in the congregation. Photographic evidence at the beginning of this post.

4 comments to The death of HM Queen Elizabeth II as seen from the Czech Republic

  • Pauleen Bang

    I don’t think the Czech Republic is the only country covering the Queen’s death. Here in Denmark we have had massive coverage. Our (Danish) Queen and the Crown Prince and Princess will be going to the funeral so that will give more coverage.
    The Queen’s record-breaking reign of 70 years is, of course, impressive but most of the people I have seen interviewed have been more impressed by her kindness and dedication.
    Thanks for writing this blog.

    • Ricky

      I do understand that the death of Queen Elizabeth II is being covered by news organisations in many countries. Reigning for 70 years is impressive as you say. And the coverage in Denmark is more easily understood as, like the UK, Denmark has a constitutional monarchy. But, if the Danish Queen were to die, I suspect it would get relatively brief news coverage here. That is the contrast that I’m trying to understand.

      Likewise, I too would recognise the late Queen’s dedication to service, her kindness, to which I would add, her expression of Christian faith in words and actions. I have to say that hearing secular commentators speaking positively about her faith has been very refreshing! Thank you as always Pauleen, for visiting & commenting once more.

  • Heather Garnett

    Nicely presented Ricky. I remember Queen Elizabeth’s coronation on TV in black and white but also a full length colour film at the local cinema with my school. Quite a treat for a 7 year old plus the Conquest of Mount Everest.
    Its been a wonderful reign and my generation are proud to be New Elizabethans.