The Queen

September 6, 2015 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have a complicated relationship with the Queen.

I have a complicated relationship with the monarchy. I love the pomp and ceremony. The Queen waved at me once as her limo took a short cut through the bus mall where I was waiting for the bus. If her window was open, I could have reached over and shook her hand. This was an unexpected thrilling experience! I enjoy standing up and singing/shouting “God Save the Queen” even though I’m not sure how I feel about God either. It makes me feel proud. Patriotic, like I am part of something bigger and more important than just me.

I don’t think we should pay for any of the monarchy’s expenses when they visit Canada. I’m happy that Prime Minister Trudeau brought the constitution back home.

I admired the Queen Mum immensely. You could tell from her demeanor that she had survived many horrible years as a royal. She was over 100 years old when she died and next year Liz is turning ninety. There will be celebrations in June even though she was born April 21, 1926. She’s almost an Aries like me. I aspire to live as long a life though my life will not be as interesting!

This royal family has been the face of the monarchy all of my life. They are the epitome of the stiff upper lip I was raised under. We keep calm and carry on even though we are not British. My family is Scottish, Polish, Canadian!

Ancestors

Lilibet has always been in the back of my consciousness. The royal portrait (below) hung in my grandparent’s home and now hangs in mine. It shows King George VI, Queen Elizabeth before she was the Queen Mum, Princess Margaret about age five and Princess Elizabeth around age eleven. I imagine that this was the official portrait when George became King after the abdication in 1936. I don’t know if this is true. My Polish grandparents had the picture hanging in their house but I never discussed royalty with them so I don’t know why they hung this picture or where it came from. I do know how relieved they were to leave, in the 1930s, an unsettled Poland for a new life in Canada.

Like most young girls, I was interested in princesses but I wasn’t into the Disney princesses. I wanted to read stories about real princesses. In my teens, I read everything I could find about Princess Anastasia of Russia. Her mother was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain.

I sped read through the Royal Diaries series of books and got a vague sense of the history of British Kings And Queens. I explored what I could find on Mary Queen of Scots and Lady Jane Grey who was Queen for nine days. There was no internet when I was growing up and no fictitious royal series on TV. Royal enthusiasts have it so much easier now.

Because I am a history buff, I was aware that Queen Elizabeth worked as a mechanic during WWII and went out into the crowds on VE day with her sister and their mates. The Queen had mates!

She seemed to be a normal girl. She seemed to be just like me.

Royal Portrait

I’ve followed the Queen’s trails and tribulations. I was there for Anne’s wedding. The Queen’s 25th wedding anniversary family portrait taken in 1972 looks remarkably the same as the picture taken around the same time for my grandparent’s fiftieth.

I’ve been there for her silver jubilee, her golden jubilee and her diamond jubilee. I missed the coronation (I wasn’t born yet) but I vicariously experience it through video – both news reel real and fictitious. The new Doctor Who, series 2: episode seven, centers on a typical London neighbourhood on the Queen’s coronation day.

Royalty fascinates me. A hundred year’s ago I would have been a tea drinking member of the IODE (if I could have been).

Keep Calm

The Queen is a countrywoman through and through. She loves horses, dogs, and vacationing at her estate in Balmoral, Scotland.

She reminds me of her great great grandmother Victoria who also loved Scotland. Both monarchs are women, like my ancestors, who believed in old-fashion values like duty, discipline and self-control.

Victoria, who died at age 82 after celebrating her diamond jubilee four years earlier, was not supposed to be Queen – her father had two older brothers.

Elizabeth shouldn’t have been Queen. Her father’s older brother was to reign and produce heirs but he abdicated instead.

Isn’t it strange that two women who shouldn’t have been Queens are our longest reigning royals to date? When will Queen Elizabeth II have reigned for longer than Queen Victoria?

Queen Victoria reigned 23,226 days 16 hrs & 23 minutes. She superseded her uncle King William IV and became queen at 18 on June 20, 1837. She reigned until Jan 2, 1901.

On Wednesday, September 9 at about 5.30 pm GMT (12:30 pm CST), Queen Elizabeth II will have been on the throne for 63 years, seven months and two days. She became queen at 25 when her father died on Feb 6, 1952.

She does not plan to celebrate this milestone publicly.

I plan to raise a glass of wine in celebration and read one of the myriad books featuring the Queen.

Perhaps I will reread Mrs. Queen Takes the Train!

On Wednesday, raise a glass to “The Queen”

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Happy Birthday Your Majesty | Solitary Spinster said,

    […] is my article commemorating Elizabeth’s longest reign in […]

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