Queen Elizabeth II, known for her longevity as a reigning monarch, and her stoic presence, has become an icon in meme culture. As the internet evolved, the Queen’s image transcended royal portraits and came to be a mainstay of humorous and satirical memes, reflecting the unique blend of reverence and playfulness that characterizes the digital age.
Queen Elizabeth memes: Early adoption of technology
Before delving into her meme legacy, it’s worth noting that Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t just a figurehead distanced from technological progress. She was an early adopter of email, launched the royal family’s website in 1997, and embraced platforms like YouTube and Twitter.
Her first tweet in 2014 and her use of Zoom meetings during COVID-19 lockdowns showed a monarch who was keeping pace with the digital world. “I think the queen has been extremely savvy on the internet,” noted Sadie Quinlan, a pro-royal YouTuber.
The Queen as a meme icon
The Queen’s transformation into a meme icon is attributed to her widely known image and the quirky, relatable moments captured during her public appearances. Whether she was cutting a cake with a ceremonial sword, or getting excited when she saw cows, these instances offered a glimpse into her personality beyond her often impassive royal façade. Her fondness for corgis further endeared her to netizens, dovetailing with the internet’s love for animals.
Memes reflecting uncertainty and immortality
Before her passing, the Queen’s longevity as a reigning monarch was a subject of awe and humor. Memes speculating about her immortality and magical powers proliferated, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, as she seemed to defy the passage of time while high-profile figures around her fell ill.
The Queen’s ‘new phase’
One particular meme trend emerged when reports in November 2021 suggested that the Queen had “entered a new phase” of life, leading to a break from public appearances. This phrase ignited the internet’s imagination, with tweets and posts humorously speculating about drastic transformations or secret projects she might be undertaking.
The Queen’s death and online reactions
The announcement of Queen Elizabeth II’s ill health and subsequent death on September 8th, 2022, sparked a wave of online reactions. While some approached the news with seriousness, others responded with humor and satire.
Memes about her immortality ceased, giving way to new formats like “Ireland’s Reaction to the Queen’s Death” and “Princess Diana vs. Queen Elizabeth in Afterlife.” These reflected various cultural and historical perspectives on the monarch’s passing.
Memes as cultural commentary
Queen Elizabeth II’s memes also served as a canvas for cultural commentary. They ranged from playful edits on Instagram to speculative narratives on Twitter and Tumblr. These memes became a way for people to engage with the idea of the monarchy and Elizabeth’s unique position in modern history.
Queen Elizabeth II’s presence in meme culture reflects the unique intersection of historical reverence and contemporary digital humor. Her memes offered a lighter take on the monarchy and demonstrated how even the most traditional institutions can find their place in the ever-evolving landscape of internet culture.