Monday, February 6, 2012

Happy Accession Day!

It was 60 years ago today that HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and her other Realms and Territories acceded to the throne. So far, only one British monarch has reigned longer than she has and during her time on the throne the Queen has faced more and more rapid changes than probably any other British monarch in history. Think for a moment of what she has had to deal with; a system in which she is expected to be totally uninvolved yet display leadership at the same time. She is expected to embody values the majority of her people no longer consider important, preside over an established Church she has no real control over and which few attend, she is expected to address major national issues but without ever taking a side or giving the slightest hint of having an opinion. The Queen has presided over the loss of more countries formerly under the Crown than any other, yet no one would think of criticizing her for this. She is expected to accept that gracefully yet she has been criticized for seeming aloof and unfeeling.

This is rather unfair considering that the Britain she grew up in still valued the ‘stiff upper lip’ and wanted their royals to appear strong, focused and towers of strength. The Queen was of the “keep calm and carry on” generation yet she has reigned over the generation that encourages emotionalism, sharing absolutely every thought and feeling and even going on television to talk about your emotional problems. The Queen grew up in a time when Britain was the heart of the largest empire in history and every Briton as well as most every Canadian, South African, Australian and every subject of the Crown in between was justifiably proud of that fact. Yet, the Queen has spent most of her reign in a Britain that willingly tossed aside the British Empire and became, by and large, ashamed of it. The people are often asked in polls and ‘man on the street’ interviews, in Commonwealth Realms around the world, how they “relate” to the Queen but one might just as well ask the Queen how she relates to a public whose sentiments, values and opinions change so drastically and so rapidly.

That may be what I find the most impressive of all about the Queen. What would have been her empire as a girl suddenly became her country and then her countries and absolutely everything about them all has changed and yet the Queen manages to remain popular, beloved and able to accomplish the seemingly impossible; keeping up with the times while simultaneously representing timeless tradition. Her 60 years on the throne have seen none of the monumental challenges faced by her predecessors who reigned during the World Wars but I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that none of them have had to deal with the situation the Queen has had to deal with during her 60 years on the throne and, frankly, I cannot imagine even the great British monarchs of the past being able to do what Her Majesty does every day successfully. The Queen has had to invent a new sort of greatness for a new and constantly transforming age and yet she has and has mastered it. Much of this, I believe, is due simply to Her Majesty’s personal character and values. As has often been said, she has never put a foot wrong, and that is true. Today there are many who would love to see her stumble and be quick to take advantage, but the Queen, God save her, has never given them the opportunity. Not one misstep, not one unguarded word, not one scandal, not one public embarrassment and so the people love her and even her critics cannot touch her.

The Queen in Texas, 1991
In doing this she has come to symbolize the best of what a modern monarchy is all about. She may not reign over the vast array of territories her father did, but her image is known probably more than any other. I have often marveled at the fact that I hail from one of those very few parts of the globe over which the British flag has never waved. The monarchy with the longest association with my part of the world would be the Spanish and yet whenever anyone here says something about “the Queen” everyone automatically assumes they mean HM Queen Elizabeth II of the UK etc, etc. Many royals, even reigning monarchs have visited my part of the world over the years yet most are never even mentioned on the daily news save perhaps an article in the paper of the city being visited. Yet, on both occasions that “the Queen” came to visit it was a major event. The last, which I remember most, was in 1991 when the Queen arrived at the capital building in Austin to a crowd of cheering people waving the Lone Star and the Union Jack, the Texas National Guard artillery firing salutes and Governor Ann Richards rushing out to meet her (though being a good Democrat she refused to curtsy). I also remember Prince Philip being given a pair of cowboy boots with other pairs sent along to be handed out to the Prince of Wales and Princes William and Harry. The Queen’s every move, every visit and every word was on every TV station all across Texas.

I also cannot help but remember the idiots who get attention on every such occasion. One particularly ignorant legislator, after receiving his protocol advice card, rudely asked, “I thought we fought a war to get rid of this stuff?” (which someone will ask every time there is a royal visit without fail). It made me laugh of course considering that “we” (as in Texas) have never fought a war with Great Britain. He meant the American Revolution of course, but that was long before Texas joined the Union and when Texas fought its war of independence it was against, of all things, the elected President of a republic who had turned tyrannical. And yet, despite those who complained or made mocking jokes, not one sour note was heard after the Queen arrived and even the notoriously, adamantly, proudly uncouth and egalitarian Democrat Governor was beaming with pride upon meeting “THE Queen”. If anyone had told me then that there was even one person in Great Britain, or Canada or Australia who wanted to become a republic I honestly would not have believed it. And, again, I go back to her character, because even the most ardent republicans of today have a hard time swaying public opinion because even they have to admit that, she’s simply a great Queen. There are no flaws they can point out, no mistakes they can exploit and no way they can try to say she has not done her duty flawlessly.

HM Queen Elizabeth II has done her duty, to her many countries and peoples, for 60 years and we earnestly hope she continues for 60 more. A great deal has changed in all that time, but the Queen has not. The monarchy has changed of course and the Queen has adapted, but you can still see that same twinkle in her eye today that she had 60 years ago. Whether as a pretty young woman 60 years ago, or the genteel fine lady of today, the Queen has always been “majestic” and “regal”. Everyone of her subjects should be filled with pride on this special occasion, a pride that the citizens of republics cannot feel about their own heads of state (at least I cannot imagine any who could). All monarchists can also celebrate and be grateful that for 60 years a Queen has sat on the British and Commonwealth thrones that has, by her great character, virtue and devotion to duty, made the monarchy as unassailable as possible.

Congratulations to Her Majesty, congratulations to all her peoples and GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!

6 comments:

  1. Today is a Great Day for of us who know that Monarchy is the best form of Government in all History.

    The fact that her Royal Highness has ruled Britannia with such grace and pose for 60 years, produced two of the finest young Princes any Monarchist could ask for, in the face of Their mothers death, and in the face of such hatred from Republicans, Leftist and others who would seek to undo the Beloved Queen.

    While I live in the U.S. I consider Queen Elizabeth to be my rightful sovereign, and I look forward to 60 more years of being her Loyal Subject!

    Long Live the Queen!

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  2. Yeah, I wonder how the queen coped through all the numerous changes throughout the recent century. The social norms changed, the world changed all around her, she started losing precious territories of her vast Empire, tragedy struck in her family, and yet she stood firm and remained thoroughly devoted to her nation... even now. Who could forget all what the Queen has done? She even served in WWII, something none of the republican presidents now can even claim to have done... this woman is the face of the United Kingdom and her subjects ought to be proud of all she has done for this nation, despite the many bumpy roads that were and still are... and she still lives on.

    God save the Queen of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and all of her Commonwealth and Dominions or whatever they call it... (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc...)!

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  3. I will be late but, I wil say God Save The Queen!

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  4. Man it makes me so want to be british. At least I'd like to be ruled by that queen. But parliament and the prime minister, and especially british socialism puts me off. The Queen is clearly the best and most important part of The United Kingdom. Long Live The Queen!

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  5. It is true that the Queen's character is the answer to why the monarchy strengthened in the last tumultuous 60 years in England. But I am sure that Charles will also make a brilliant king.

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    1. I have my...concerns about Charles. Whilst I don't doubt that the Prince of Wales will be a most competent and capable king, I do worry that he might be wanting to make the monarchy more executive. I'd rather like to see the Crown take a firmer hand and take the House of Commons down a peg or seven, but with the "democracy=freedom" public at the moment, I am concerned that they'd simply call for his head on a platter for being like Charles I.

      A lot of newspapers keep making comments like "Charles is acting more and more like a president trying to run for office than a prince assuredly inheriting his mother's throne" and such.

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