It’s not hyperbole to say that this was one of, if not the most momentous and memorable week in British life and politics for a long time.
His Majesty King Charles III and Prime Minister Liz Truss find themselves as head of state and head of government of a kingdom facing very difficult choices about itself and its places in the world. Some of those choices have been avoided, at least publicly, because of the taboo of discussing the end of the reign of a widely respected Queen. Now that moment has come we can expect renewed debates about British identity, the Commonwealth, republicanism, race and empire, and the role of Europe's most powerful royal house in a country still uncertain about its place in Europe.
There’s therefore been plenty of material for the second of my British Foreign Policy 10: 10 of the best reports, podcasts, twitter threads speeches etc. that I’ve added to my Zotero database this past week.
1. Some of you might have read the New York Times piece published soon after the Queen's death was announced. 'Mourn the Queen, Not Her Empire' read the headline. On his substack, Ed West brilliantly takes apart the article and takes a closer look at the NYT's UK coverage.
2. Bobby McDonagh, former Irish Ambassador to the UK, looks back at the positive effect of HM the Queen’s visit to Ireland in 2011.
3. Over on BloombergUK, Adrian Wooldridge wrote one of the most eloquent pieces I’ve read this week about the Queen's overall legacy. He connects the crown to the constitution, the UK’s place in the world, and the woman who until Wednesday wore that crown tirelessly and with a sense of duty many today struggle to understand.
4. Philip Collins in The New Statesman tells us something that's been told in many other articles (e.g. see also Andrew Rawnsley in The Guardian) about the end of the Queen's reign: that Brexit and the Queen’s death leave the UK deeply unsure of its place in the world.
5. Tony Wright in The Sunday Morning Herald thinks the King will be good for the environment. ’His efforts to promote the environment, which once saddled him with a reputation as an oddball (he shakes the limb of every tree he plants and wishes it well), now make him unusually suited to the times.’
6. Turning to the new prime minister, Sam Freedman isn’t optimistic about the future of UK-EU relations. As he writes in Prospect Magazine, the new prime minister's choice of cabinet ministers points towards more conflict with Brussels. ‘The huddle of remaining Tory pragmatists are in despair’.
7. James Jennion in The Diplomat examines what Truss could mean for Asia. Will she add substance to her style, especially in her more combative approach to China?
8. How will Truss square her hawkish attitudes with human rights? Amnesty International's Sacha Deshmukh sets out his (perhaps unsurprisingly?) concerns in The Independent.
9. What might Truss mean for the Middle East? Professor Chris Phillips shares his thoughts with the New Arab Voices podcast.