Vincent Boland: Britain’s monarchy faces an uncertain future without the woman who held it together

Elizabeth II’s long reign as queen was one of smooth continuity, spanning seven decades and several eras, but there is no guarantee that her successor can prevent the union from unravelling in the coming years

Queen Elizabeth: it is probably fair to say that many people abroad know Britain mainly through Elizabeth, the ultimate instrument of soft power. Picture: Getty

One day, around the turn of the century, I was in a taxi on the Mall, the avenue in central London that links Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace, when a group of men on horses came from St James’s Park on to the road in front of us. They were not just any old horsemen, either, but a troop of the Household Cavalry, the monarch’s bodyguard.

They made for a beguiling spectacle, resplendent in blue, ...