Queen Elizabeth II has made history by becoming the first British monarch to reach their sapphire jubilee, as reported in the Telegraph newspaper. This is because she has reigned for 65 years. But as we ponder this great achievement, a central question needs to be asked. Primarily, how has Elizabeth II fared as Queen?

The proceedings

Before we proceed, let us discuss how this landmark accomplishment will be celebrated. Whilst there will be no official engagements planned, the Queen is expected to commemorate the landmark privately. However, in addition to the royal gun salutes which will be staged on Ascension Day, the Band of the Royal Artillery will play a selection of celebratory music close to the firing position.

The changing role

Let us now consider the question. How has the Queen fared in her role? The fact that she has ruled for so long is a key indicator of how well she has done. However, after taking over the throne in 1952 the Queen has been faced with a number of challenges. One has been the changing nature of the role itself. As reported in the Politics website, over the last thousand years, political power in Britain has passed from the monarch to Parliament. In Medieval England, the role of a King/Queen included "land ownership, warfare leadership and lawmaker", according to the Reference website. In addition, when there was war it was the King especially who "led his men into battle". They were also seen as "supreme rules of their lands".

However, by the beginning of the 20th Century, power had passed almost entirely to Parliament. Although still Head of State, as stated in the Guardian, the Queen's role is "mostly symbolic". Further on from that, her residual powers, the 'royal prerogative' are mostly exercised through the government of the day. These include the "power to enact legislation", to sign treaties and to declare war.

The criticism

Another challenge that the Queen has had to face is the increasing criticism levelled at the monarchy. As reported on CNN, the case for the abolishment of the monarchy is summed up in one sentence: it's about democratic reform and a rejection of inherited power and privilege". Another key complaint levelled at the Royal family and the Queen in particular is the "public cost".

The Metro newspaper reported that in 2014/15 the Queen cost 35.7 million pounds sterling. Some argue that that money is better off going to the NHS for example.

Global instability

Another challenge that the Queen has had to face is the instability on the global stage. There has been the aftermath of World War II, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Falklands War and the Gulf War, not to mention the rise of terrorism around the world.

So how has Queen Elizabeth II fared? Overall I think very well. She has adapted to the position, she has not caused controversy in her role, she is respected, well liked and has carried the torch for Britain very well over the years.