Queen Elizabeth II’s Celebrity has Large Impact on American’s After Passing


Jonathan Buscher

With Queen Elizabeth II’s passing on September 8th, 2022, the British population was unsurprisingly rocked, with a ten-day period devoted to mourning the Queen. Somewhat more surprising, however, is the extent to which the death of the Queen of England affected many in America. Once news broke, the Queen’s name and likeness were everywhere in the States, starting with the Thursday night football opener, where an announcer stated, “Today, the world lost a beloved global figure with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.” This phenomenon extended to businesses, with Apple changing its website’s homepage, and even as far as historical monuments of revolutionary resistance against the British in America. 

There are several reasons behind the American public’s infatuation with Queen Elizabeth II, according to Arianne Churnock, a Boston University professor of history. First off, the American public has always been interested in the affairs of the royal family, even dating back to the American Revolution, starting in 1775. Some leaders had disagreements with primarily the British Parliament, rather than King George III himself. The intrigue continued through the following few centuries as well, with Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1838, King Edward VII’s tour of the U.S. in 1860, and eventually, the taking of power by Queen Elizabeth II in 1952. Outside of the main line of royalty, Americans have also taken an interest, with royals such as Princess Diana, and more recently, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, also being topics of discussion. In some ways, Americans have become more enfranchised than Britons, as, without taxes paid to the royal family, Americans can view these events as drama, or entertainment. 


Also, there is a particular interest, especially with the advent of social media over the past few decades, in Queen Elizabeth II herself. Throughout her ninety-six-year-long lifespan, the Queen appeared in many different pieces of media, ranging from music to movies, and became somewhat of a pop culture icon. In the world of music, Elizabeth II was the subject of songs such as “Her Majesty,” written by Paul McCartney of the Beatles, and supposedly “God Save the Queen.” The Queen was also depicted in films and shows, including A Question of Attribution, Minions, and a role in the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games, accompanied by Daniel Craig (James Bond actor). A more recent piece that has made Queen Elizabeth II popular is The Crown, a Netflix series by Peter Morgan that details the Queen’s life through fictional and historical events. Across social media platforms and public appearances, Queen Elizabeth II became quite a celebrity, contributing to the sense of loss part the American public felt at her passing.

Despite this overall mourning reaction by many, some Americans feel the opposite way, with a lack of sympathy for the death of a British monarch. As the Queen of England, Elizabeth II was also involved with mistakes of Britain’s past, including slavery, colonial/neocolonialism, and repercussions of actions that have taken lives. These less ideal aspects of the monarchy have not been forgotten by those affected, unlike many Americans enchanted with the drama of the celebrity-like royals, who are willing to ignore more negative aspects in favor of a good story. 

In spite of the indifference that some portions of the American population hold towards the Queen’s passing, American media has taken the chance to capitalize on the notoriety of the monarch, with most major news media stations covering the issue. However, the coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s mourning and funeral is also covering up other current news issues, including the Ukrainian-Russian war, and other humanitarian crises, that some argue hold more precedence. Still, the Queen represented much to many Americans, as a movie star might, with her role as a monarch and drama as a royal providing entertainment and inspiration to generations.