Happy Birthday Your Majesty

April 17, 2016 at 8:15 am (Book Commentary, Faery tales) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Queen turns 90 on April 21, 2016.

She’s been through a lot in those ninety years. There was Wallis Simpson & the abdication, World War II, the death of her father at an early age, the Diana years, the loss of both her sister and her mother. A lifetime worth of trails and tribulations.

She is old enough to forgive and forget. Myself, I still hold grudges. I still want people to admit they done me wrong and some of these people are dead.

The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. That makes her a Taurus like my eldest sister. Like most Tauruses, she’s reliable, practical, ambitious, and independent.

On her official birthday during the weekend of June 10 – 13th, there will be many celebrations. There will also be celebrations from May 12 – 15th.

We’re not celebrating Her Majesty’s birthday here in Canada as far as I know. The RCMP Musical Ride will go to London to join the Royal Celebrations there and we are publishing a charming children’s book to mark the occasion.

Our government here in Canada is pretty boring especially compared to the British Monarchy (though there was that Prime Minister who had seances to contact his mum).

We may not have castles but our Prime Minister resides in a very lovely mansion as he governs the country. Honestly, we’ve not had anyone interesting living there since Pierre Elliot Trudeau was Prime Minister! Politics have been boring, boring, boring ever since he left but maybe his son (our current Prime Minister) can liven up our world-wide reputation.

The United States has no connection to royalty anymore (not since the revolution) so they create their own royalty out in Hollywood.

We (I) fantasize about being royal. Does Royalty fantasize about playing at being normal. I love the movie, The Prince & Me. I love its light humour. We are amused (yes that is the royal we).

What has the Queen been fantasizing about lately? Maybe these quick, amusing reads have the answer.

Uncommon-Reader-Alan-Bennett

The Uncommon Reader deals with the Queen as a bibliophile.

What she was finding was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren’t long enough for the reading she wanted to do. (p. 21)

As Queen…pleasure had always taken second place to duty. (p. 31)

To read is to withdraw. To make oneself unavailable. (45)

Once she been a single-minded woman knowing where her duty lay and [her] intent [was] on doing it…(104)

The moral, of this book, is that the love and act of reading can lead to the act of writing which leads to abdication.

A moral, I’m sure, our current Queen would be against considering how long it took her and her mother to forgive Edward and Wallis.

The Uncommon Reader is written by Alan Bennett. Faber & Faber published it in 2007.

Mrs Queen

In this fairy tale-ish book, the Queen takes a melancholy jaunt alone to Scotland to visit the decommissioned Royal Yacht.

People had been writing about her from the very first day she was born in April 1926. (p. 5)

It was Prince Edward [who had] shown her (he knew his mama’s bad habits) a website where she could place a small bet on the races. (p. 8)

She had already called the IT woman three times. She couldn’t call her again. The Queen knew she needed help, but she hated to appear helpless. (p. 4)

The Queen set store by doing everything as Queen Victoria had once done it. (p. 135)

This story is set in December 2002. It is a charming, small, book with lovely black & white illustrations throughout. Here the Queen’s world is populated by many charming and eccentric characters.

There is Lady Anne Bevil, one of her Ladies in Waiting who at seventy has little money left to support herself and is estranged from her son.

Shirley is the queen’s senior dresser. She is sixty and her grandmother and mother worked for the Queen before her. She has no family left.

William is the senior butler. He is gay and has made this job his whole life.

Luke, an equerry and Iraq vet considers his job to be temporary.

Rebecca is a stable girl who takes care of the Queen’s horses. Queen Elizabeth’s latest horse, who was born on the Queen’s birthday, likes cheese. This is a very important plot point!

Rajiv works as a shop clerk at a cheese store and has a sideline profession of taking & selling candid Queen shots to the press. He likes Rebecca (every story needs a romance).

The tale becomes a cozy mystery involving the queen’s household vs MI5. It is very Doctor Whoish. The servants are at friendly odds with each other. They are not sure who to like or who to trust and must find the Queen before it is noticed that she is missing.

Mrs Queen Takes the Train was written by William Kuhn. HarperCollins published it in 2012.

Queen Townsend
After 40 years on the throne, The Queen and her family are rehoused to a council estate because the People’s Republican Party has gotten rid of the monarchy. Everything the Royal Family once had belongs to the state; the new Prime Minister sells off some of royal treasures to Japan and Windsor Castle is turned into a hotel. The former Royal family have no servants, make no public appearances, and they must check in/out with a guard every time they leave the house.

This was subversive fiction written during the Thatcher’s 90s!

The sweetest scene is when the Queen Mum dies and is laid out by neighbours.

Even with all this upheaval, the Queen gets on with it.

The sequel featuring Camilla instead of Diana is not as strong.

The Queen & I was written by Sue Townsend. Methuen published it in 1992.

Hello Magazine

Further readings written by me:

Here is my article about Princess Anne’s wedding.

Here is my article commemorating Elizabeth’s longest reign in September.

It seems Ailsa & I both had books on our mind this week!

Happy Birthday Your Majesty.

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