UNC Charlotte professor teaching students British history in wake of Queen’s death

He’s having conversations with his students about her ability to transcend politics.
UNC Charlotte professor Peter Thorsheim said people in the U.K. respected the Queen because of her unwavering sense of duty and service.
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 6:36 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Queen Elizabeth II played a pivotal role in British history over the past seven decades.

The UK has gone through significant changes, but what remained consistent, was the monarch on the throne.

UNC Charlotte professor Peter Thorsheim is teaching his students about the rich history of the monarchy and engaging them in discussions regarding what the future will look like.

He says it’s interesting to think that in 1952 when the Queen was crowned, the UK was still a global empire and the Queen was head of state in places like Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Related: Charlotteans with British ties remember Queen Elizabeth II

While the monarchy is more symbolic today, the Queen holds great power in the sense that people respect her duty and service, which Thorsheim says is clear in the way in which the world is mourning her loss.

“There are very few people alive today who are even old enough to remember when Elizabeth came to the throne,” Thorsheim said. “I think it’s a really discombobulating moment for people who always had Elizabeth as her monarch and I think it seemed like she was going to be there forever.”

He’s having conversations with his students about her ability to transcend politics. She met and consulted with prime ministers throughout the years, but those conversations remained private and she did not express political opinions with the country.

“Her son Charles as prince felt much freer to share his views on all kinds of issues and so he’s already had to reign that in,” he said. “He needs to be careful to be the monarch for everybody and not take positions that are seen to be political.”

The events of Operation London Bridge are all tied to history.

“When parliament was in flames, Winston Churchill, who was prime minister at the time, said if we can only save one part of the building, we need to save Westminster Hall,” he said. “It’s the oldest part of the building... and that’s where Elizabeth’s body is lying right now and mourners are paying their respects by going to Westminster Hall.”