The Great Commonwealth

British Prime Minister David Cameron made his first visit to the United States last week and was received amid a flurry of reports that the special relationship between the United States and Great Britain might be at a new low with Barack Obama in office.  But as one press report from across the Atlantic shows, the British still have affection for what Sir Winston Churchill called “the Great Republic,” a sentiment that can’t be anything but mutual for an American contemplating the long history of exceptional leadership from the British Commonwealth.1

Part of that history was immortalized by the genius of William Shakespeare, who chronicled a prince’s efforts to earn the admiration of those he would later join as Henry V in a “band of brothers.”  The trilogy of plays, however, captured the optimistic spirit of the English Renaissance in which they were composed, during the Golden Age of Elizabeth I, an indirect descendant of Henry V who joined her distant ancestor as a loyal servant of the people.  Complementing such achievements is a long and distinguished lists of individuals, one being the above-mentioned Bard of Avon, characteristic of the preeminent leadership that has emerged from all ranks of British society and government.2

Now with Prime Minister Cameron, we live in a second Golden Age inspired by Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, with humility in service to Great Britain’s special relationship with United States presidents recommending foreign policy that might make her the most underappreciated leader of our American ascendance.3


1.  William Inboden and Lisa Aronsson, “Obama and the ‘Special Relationship’; A New Survey Shows Many British Think Relations with the U.S. Have Deteriorated Since the President Took Office,” The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2010, Online.  “Where Has All the Greatness Gone,” The Economist, July 15, 2010, United States.  Sir Winston Churchill, The Great Republic: A History of America, ed. Winston S. Churchill (New York: Random House, 1999), ix-xv.

2.  Stephen Greenblatt, ed., The Norton Shakespeare: Based on the Oxford Edition, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997), 1147-1224, 1293-1380, 1445-1524.  Leah S. Marcus, Janel Mueller, and Mary Beth Rose, eds., Elizabeth I: Collected Works (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), xi-xxiv.

3.  Ben Pimlott, The Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth II (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996), 202-214.