queen elizabeth ii

Crown on British flag. Flag by kjpargeter via freepik.com. Crown via clipart-library.com.

Season 2 of a podcast co-hosted by Nicholas J. Cull and Simon Anholt.

The Annie Leibowitz portait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II surrounded by her great grandchildren...quite simply, stunning. And mesmerising. [...] Having admired her many gruelling decades of public engagements, her fortitude, diplomacy and devotion to duty vanishingly few of us would want to be Queen in her stead.

Not for nothing has Her Majesty been described as the world’s most effective weapon in the projection of “soft power.” Americans would be quick to salute the victories she has won for peace and goodwill, most recently by going to Dublin and – so it seemed – just watching with mild interest while a man poured a pint of stout.

Just before the royal wedding the Queen made one of her most remarkable acts of public diplomacy: taking the first visit to Ireland by a reigning British monarch in a century. Three or even two decades earlier, the Queen would have been taking an enormous risk in visiting a country where hatred of England is almost an article of faith.

The ROC government has long faced an array of seemingly insurmountable obstacles as it goes about its business in a world increasingly shaped by the forces of globalization. But these have been largely overcome through the use of soft power, which can be defined as a country’s ability to influence events through persuasion and attraction as opposed to military of financial coercion.

This has been a month in which the “soft power” of our sovereign has been writ large. It is a good time to pause and reflect on the enormous advantages Britain’s monarchy brings to the country, and the sometimes overlooked sacrifices made by members of the Royal Family.

In the coming weeks, Ireland will host two of the world's most recognizable VIPs: Queen Elizabeth II and President Barack Obama. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has called both visits "an investment for the future," citing the benefits they will bring in the way of tourism and business.