The Historian 154: Out now

The magazine of the Historical Association

Published: 25th August 2022

Editorial: Jubilee

Read The Historian 154: Jubilee

Welcome to the latest edition of The Historian. This Jubilee edition is a way of drawing together a series of articles that are either about the Jubilee or about royalty and Queenship. It is also a chance to mark the 70 years of our patron HM the Queen’s reign.

It has been a quite remarkable 70 years. Her coronation was less than a decade after the Second World War when much of what had seemed stable was in upset. Those lucky enough to watch her formally become HM Queen Elizabeth II and parade through Westminster Abbey would have watched it on a black and white TV set or later at the cinema as part of a newsreel. Today many homes in the UK have multiple TV screens as well as devices for watching films and no one goes to the cinema to see the news anymore.

Electronic and technological change has been huge in the last 70 years, but the impact those changes have had on daily life and society has probably been far greater. Increased road travel due to greater vehicle ownership, for instance, has affected business working, food and goods delivery, family life and air quality. Communications generally have changed hugely over the last 70 years in many ways. Reading an article like this could only have been done by having the print copy 70 years ago and now you may well be reading this on a computer or your phone.

However, it is probably how aspects of society and attitudes have changed that has had the greatest impact here and globally. International relations have been transformed with the ending of European imperial empires. Attitudes to equality, fairness and access have moved on considerably from those of 1952; what was deemed normal and acceptable about behaviour towards people of different races, gender, sexuality or class would simply not be tolerated today, and indeed there is now legislation against prejudicial practise that would have seemed impossible 70 years ago.

While for many this Jubilee year is about celebration and a bit of flag waving, for historians it has also been about reflection, analysis and examining change. It has been an opportunity to explore how this queen’s reign differs from those that have gone before and to make a prediction of what might be the legacies. I have tried to pick up on some of those themes in the articles collected here. Other articles have been included simply because it is interesting to bring different pieces together and to see how they fit – something that has happened quite a lot over the last 70 years, with a variety of degrees of success – we only have to examine our own political history of the last seven decades to see that.

Please do enjoy this year of reflection – it is not over yet and the opportunity to stop and take stock of a period of time may well be lost as another tumultuous year appears to be unfolding around us. And it would be a shame not to reflect and to ponder on how one monarch’s reign has overseen so many different things.