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For me, the most striking aspect of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign was her iron determination to be boring. In those seven decades, she very rarely let slip her views about any of the great political and public events over which she presided. She has never even hinted at her views on any of the glittering public figures with whom she dealt. We don’t know what she thought about Donald Trump or Barack Obama or Margaret Thatcher. And we never will. Elizabeth was the most disciplined public figure of the past century.

Fareed Zakaria Washington Post
Fareed Zakaria Washington Post

In a confessional age, when we post every idea, urge, impulse and image that pops into our heads, this woman kept her own counsel. As Tina Brown, author of the fascinating book “The Palace Papers,” notes, Elizabeth was careful even at her own family’s weddings and funerals, rarely smiling or weeping, always maintaining dignity and the appearance of detachment. That was her interpretation of her role as a constitutional monarch, one who leads all the people and never takes sides, and she played it better than anyone ever has. Even during the contentious debate over Brexit, she never let slip her own preferences. (Then-Prime Minister David Cameron had to apologize in person for revealing that she was pleased that Scotland voted down independence in its own referendum.)

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