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The Queen Is Dead, Long Live The (Gold) King!

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Queen Elizabeth II died. She was a powerful anchor and symbol in the political sphere, just like gold in the financial realm.

The Power Of Symbols

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Head of the Commonwealth, died on September 8, 2022. I’m not a British or Commonwealth citizen, nor a devoted supporter (and observer) of the British monarchy.

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And yet – together with millions of people all over the world – I was saddened by the death of the Queen. I began to wonder why it was such poignant news, given that she was not my monarch and that her role was purely ceremonial and formal (the Queen reigned, but didn’t rule).

The first common explanation is that Queen Elizabeth II was a fixture, a source of continuity and stability in an ever-changing world. In the words of the former Prime Minister, Liz Truss, Queen Elizabeth was “the rock on which modern Britain was built”.

Indeed, she acceded to the throne in February 1952, when Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and Harry Truman was President of the United States. It means that she ruled for more than 70 years, the longest of any British monarch and the longest recorded of any female head of state in history.

She has simply always been there as Queen, many years before I and many other people were even born.

However, there must be much more than that – actually we don’t despair after the death of every old person who remembers WWII. It seems that, despite how modern and progressive we are, there is a magic in the monarchy that resonates with something deep in us.

Please note that the UK’s Parliament is practically the supreme authority, but its members exercise their power in the name of the Crown. The government was, for seventy years, Her Majesty’s government, while the opposition was Her Majesty’s most loyal opposition.

Of course, from the pragmatic point of view, it was just a play, but thanks to these rituals, the British monarchy remains a symbolic but integral part of the UK’s power structure.

Don’t underestimate the power of symbols! According to polls, more than a third of Britons regularly dream about the Queen and other members of the royal family. Elizabeth II could play just a symbolic role – but the symbol she embodied in herself was very powerful, almost religious nature.

Actually, we can say that Elizabeth II was the most well-known representation of an archetype of the queen, one of the most important archetypes that symbolizes the wholeness and full potential of a woman and the ultimate in female leadership.

The archetypal good queen is beloved as she takes care of her people and provides them with the structure they look to for safety. This is why her death disheartened so many people in the world.

The Queen And Gold

OK, but what does the Queen and her death have in common with gold (except she apparently liked gold pianos)? Should we expect some geopolitical turmoil right now that could support the price of the yellow metal?

I don’t think so. Elizabeth was automatically replaced by her son as the next king, Charles III. And whoever reigns in the UK, he or she doesn’t rule, so the change on the throne shouldn’t disturb the functioning of the government.

Perhaps some countries will leave the Commonwealth now, or this structure will disintegrate, but it shouldn’t pose any significant geopolitical risks that could support, even temporarily, gold prices.

I decided to write about the Queen’s death rather than because I see some parallels between the perception of the Queen in the political realm and gold in the financial sphere. Why do people despair after the death of Elizabeth?

Because, as previously stated, Queen was a fixture and a symbol. So why do people buy gold? Well, because gold is also a fixture, the rock on which the modern financial system was built.

The golden anchor was removed only in the early 1970s, but to this day we say “gold standard” to describe a certain ideal (for example, we say that randomized double-blind placebo control studies are the “gold standard” of epidemiologic studies). Elizabeth Windsor ruled for 70 years, while gold ruled as money for centuries, and although dethroned, it’s still with us.

People purchase gold also because it’s a powerful symbol, or even an archetypical form of money. You can easily verify it – please stop reading for a while and imagine a great treasure. What came to your mind?

I bet that you saw precious metals, diamonds, etc., rather than credit cards or paper money. This is also why in times of crisis, people used to seek comfort in gold, an ultimate safe-haven asset, and in soothing speeches of the Queen.

Hence, gold (nor a monarchy) is not a “barbarous relic”, but a powerful symbol deeply rooted in our psychology. If so, it won’t disappear anytime soon, but should last with us for a long time (although at what price is a completely different issue). The Queen is dead, long live the (gold) king!

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Arkadiusz Sieron, PhD

Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care.