It fascinates on each side of the Channel. If the British rushed to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, France shouldn’t be ignored. The final French media, and never solely the folks press, give broad protection to the loss of life of the sovereign. Methods to clarify this enthusiasm? Why does the British royal household fascinate the French greater than the Spanish, Belgian or Monegasque monarchies?
Franceinfo interviewed Philippe Chassaigne, a historian specializing in the UK and the royal household, to decipher this phenomenon.
Franceinfo: Are the French as fascinated as they are saying by the British crown or are the French media doing an excessive amount of?
Philippe Chassaigne: There’s a actual curiosity from the French public. We see it with the audiences of the information channels. And it is not from the previous few days. Clearly, the loss of life of a queen who has reigned for seventy years shouldn’t be anecdotal.
– France2ServicePresse (@France2_Presse) September 9, 2022
This curiosity appears to be linked to the truth that we have now a republic which, in some ways, has a monarchical side. Lastly, we challenge to our British neighbors this fascination for a distinct political system, which highlights questions of pageantry and ceremonial. The President of the Republic, within the message he despatched to the British, mentioned: “For you, she was your queen, for us, she was THE queen.” The French, after we say “queen”, consider Elizabeth II. She is a type of archetype of the sovereign, even when there are others in Europe.
Why are the French so within the British royal household, way more than in different European monarchies?
Spain’s golden centuries are the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. For Britain, it was the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It’s nonetheless nearer to us traditionally.
“Actually there have been moments of stress, and we live one proper now. [avec le Brexit]. However in nice moments, like in 1914 or 1939, our two international locations discovered one another.”Philippe Chassaigne, historian
Are the French affected in the identical approach because the British by the loss of life of Queen Elizabeth II?
They might not be affected in the identical approach. However we noticed that the French had rushed to London to pay their final respects to the queen. For the British, there’s an attachment, an embodiment. For us, the queen was extra of an archetypal picture. I’m certain that on Monday, the published of the funeral stay on all of the channels shall be adopted loads in France.
However exactly, why this momentum?
The opposite monarchies are much less dreamy, they don’t have the identical historic depth.
“Elizabeth II reigned for seventy years. This gave her a sure diplomatic depth, she had identified 15 Prime Ministers. The benefit of sovereigns is that the longer they reign, the extra essential ethical authority they’ve.”Philippe Chassaigne, historian
The whole lot can be a matter of decorum. Because the reign of Victoria, the ceremonial is sort of immutable. This may occasionally clarify the fascination.
Nonetheless, the craze for the royal household coincides with a sure Anglophobia in France…
It’s exactly as a result of we have now clearly understood the distinction between the monarch who reigns and doesn’t govern, and the federal government. Relations between France and Boris Johnson weren’t excellent. The present Prime Minister, Liz Truss, was misguided to say that it was unclear whether or not France was an enemy or a good friend.
However in France, we all know very nicely that prime ministers come and go and the sovereign stays.
“The monarch shouldn’t be concerned in day-to-day political exercise. The one who bears the brunt of French hostility, if any, is subsequently the prime minister, not the sovereign.”Philippe Chassaigne, historian
Since Brexit, cultural relations between the UK and the European Union have deteriorated. The French can much less simply go to, research or work in the UK. Did the queen signify one of many final bridges between our two international locations?
Elizabeth II has by no means expressed her perspective on getting into or leaving the European Union. She was above all that, she continued to make official journeys. One might subsequently assume that it spanned the geographical and diplomatic border between the UK and the European Union, no matter political tensions.
In France, in English class, all the scholars hear concerning the British monarchy. That is what many bear in mind about British tradition. At college, after we study a language and a few parts of civilization, we are going to first favor unifying parts which we are able to assume that everybody is aware of them. When one is in another country, the clichés are fascinating, as a result of they make it doable to crystallize the eye, specifically on the faculty or with younger folks. And for England, the royal household is an efficient option to get them .
“Elizabeth II was in all probability higher identified than the Beatles, she says one thing to everybody.”Philippe Chassaigne, historian
Can this fascination even be defined by the historical past of France, a rustic that beheaded its king? Are we nostalgic for the monarchy?
There isn’t a nostalgia, however for the reason that Fifth Republic, it has been mentioned that the president is a republican monarch. There’s nonetheless an entire ceremony. He doesn’t journey in a golden carriage, however there’s the Republican Guard, the President lives in a palace…
“Even within the republic, the French are used to a presidential ceremonial which isn’t any stranger to a monarchical ceremonial.”Philippe Chassaigne, historian
Transposition can subsequently be achieved extra simply. However France stays a republic and the French are connected to it. This political tradition has been rooted in our nation since 1958.
Stéphane Bern affirmed within the Evaluate of two worlds : “If the British royal household is so standard in France, it’s exactly as a result of it embodies this symbolic energy able to bringing collectively a whole folks and of which we really feel orphaned.” Can we envy the UK the best way the monarchy unites the folks?
In France, the presidential determine shouldn’t be the kind to create a consensus set in stone. That is the distinction between a monarch and a president. In Nice Britain, quite the opposite, the crushing majority is for the upkeep of the monarchy. So sure, I believe it is a unifying aspect. The republican motion, against the monarchy, can be minor throughout the Channel. At most, there have by no means been greater than 20% of Britons who referred to as themselves Republicans.
To final, has the royal household been renewed? Has it tailored to fashionable instances?
When Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne, it was the period of the paperweight. At her coronation in 1953, she agreed, as a result of her husband insisted, that the ceremony be televised. Then, it moved on to documentaries in 1969. Then to multimedia with the opening of the royal household’s web site. The monarchy can be on Twitter. Furthermore, the queen’s loss of life was first introduced on Twitter, earlier than being extra formally introduced with the poster posted on the gates of Buckingham Palace.
The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.
The King and The Queen Consort will stay at Balmoral this night and can return to London tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/VfxpXro22W
— The Royal Household (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022
Within the royal household, there are disputes, deceptions, reconciliations, scandals… however in an expensive setting. Is it this combination of extraordinary and extraordinary that excites us?
The royal cleaning soap opera is a type of dallas to the British. There was the unpacking of soiled laundry between Prince Charles and Diana, after which Princess Anne who divorces and marries her lover… Within the subsequent era, there are the true or supposed estrangements between Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, or between the 2 brothers William and Harry. In France and the UK, the royal cleaning soap opera sells tens of 1000’s of copies. It boosted gross sales of Paris Match, Perspective, and many others. It is holy bread for the tabloid press.