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The queen: a living lesson in privacy management

By Mal Fletcher - posted Friday, 11 September 2015

As of 5:30pm (British Summer Time) on Wednesday September 9, Queen Elizabeth II has reigned longer than any other British monarch.

Given the fact that England has entertained kings and queens for more than twelve centuries and a unified Britain since 1707, this is no mean feat.

Six decades is a very long time for a person to be highly respected in any position or occupation.


That the Queen has succeeded so well is a testament to her resilience and resolve, as well as her sense of public duty. She sees her role as a vocation, a sacred trust which has been passed to her not simply by her people, but by God.

Arguably, though, another key to her longevity is her skill in managing the relationship between her public and private space.

In this lies an important lesson for the rest of us, as we increasingly share our lives, by choice or otherwise, through the prism of social media.

Elizabeth II has reigned for 63 years, seven months and four days, longer than her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. Though both unusually long, their respective reigns could not have been more different.

Where Victoria spent half of her reign largely hidden from public view, by choice, Elizabeth II has remained a relatively public monarch.

In fact, aware of the need for the monarchy to seem accessible – even if it is, for the most part, not – she herself has observed, ‘I have to be seen to be believed.’


Queen Victoria died in the same year that Guglielmo Marconi conducted the first trans-Atlantic radio transmission. This was more than two decades before the invention of television.

Victoria was not familiar with mass media as we know it. Yet for much of her reign she chose to remain largely an aloof figure even to the domestic press outlets of her time.

By contrast, Elisabeth II stepped into her role just as mass media was becoming a truly global phenomenon. She could have seen this either as an immense intrusion and something to be resisted at all costs. Victoria would likely have done so.

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This article was first published at 2020PLUS.NET.

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About the Author

Mal Fletcher is a media social futurist and commentator, keynote speaker, author, business leadership consultant and broadcaster currently based in London. He holds joint Australian and British citizenship.

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