We are a generation of women that witnessed the longevity of Queen Elizabeth’s service until she would crossover, and that time has come.
Queen Elizabeth came from the same generation as our mothers, guiding us with the sensibilities they acquired from that time. I admired her nonnegotiable position and unwavering integrity, consistently demonstrating loyalty to her values since she was crowned Queen. I don’t know if that’s something someone who wasn’t born in her time could fully comprehend. She placed service ahead of her family, now celebrated for what she was once criticized for becoming a force many leaders could never be. Her measured and tempered disposition was consistent, albeit not always the most suitable course for some circumstances. Though unflappable, she did reveal a fractured side on more than one occasion. It would be easy to judge, but we need only look at ourselves and how we might behave in those situations. She was skilled in addressing a global audience and remained focused on her rank and office, not her gender.
One of the intriguing things about her reign was the lack of misogyny. She was a hereditary monarch, not an elected one. She wasn’t ever required to take a position on taxes or inflation. That was never her role. Further, she didn’t have power, so she wasn’t a threat to men, so there was no reason for misogynistic smears against her. Her tightrope walk of neutrality shielded her against many things, including that.
The Queen and my late mother, who respected her, were born in the same year. Both knew the challenges of being a female in a man’s world. Queen Elizabeth had privilege, title, and status and could command and open doors many other women could not. Both women witnessed and survived the Depression and World War Two, however, from different sides of the fence. They also shared in fostering gifts of frugality due to those experiences. The Queen turned lights off in the castle that didn’t need to be on and returned unused lemon slices. My mother practiced the same perceptiveness, ensuring water wasn’t dripping, lights were turned off, and food wasn’t wasted. The Monarch was serious-minded and highly connected to her duties. She understood her position. Like my mother, both women were born under the sign of Taurus only a few weeks apart and possessed an undying faithful and devoted measure to which they upheld their roles in life.
The Monarch reigned during what were turbulent historical times. She never gave an interview and possessed the same mystique as the Hollywood starlets of the day. If Queen Elizabeth were to be interviewed, I’d suspect it would be to a magazine celebrating Corgis or horse enthusiasts. We will never know what she thought as she was admiringly discrete. Her emotions remained a cipher. She had come to master something many women have had to grasp, which goes beyond having a stiff upper lip. It’s smiling through significant distress. As tough as she was through problematic family matters, her relationships with animals spoke to a capacity of empathy she possessed but might not have always exhibited.
There’s a fascination with the Royals as a brand, possessing values opposite those of celebrities. The two are very different cultures. Monarchy maintains the same salacious fantasy as celebrities. However, it is, first and foremost, an institution that embodies the principles of permanency. A type of guaranteed continuity in a world that is constantly changing. With it exists mystery, unlike titillating celebrity culture, void of secrets and where one can profit from their fame. Charles and Diana’s divorce and Meghan marrying Harry were the closest times it came to celebrity prominence, except when Edward VIII married the American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. His abdication placed the Queen’s father on the throne.
Queen Elizabeth’s stoic disposition and grace were in contrast with her children. She never acted out. Those who knew her shared that she had a dry sense of humour. In 2012 she emerged for the London Olympic ceremony alongside Daniel Craig as James Bond, from which a double parachuted into the Olympic stadium. There’s also the charming scene of her having tea with Paddington bear, sharing their mutually kept secret being marmalade sandwiches. Her favourite beverage, I learned, was Dubonnet and gin. I love that she allowed herself to age gracefully. Her attire wasn’t exactly from the pages of Vogue, but it was consistent in its design and colour palette, always tasteful and appropriate. She dared to have her sense of style like many women reading this and appeared confident and comfortable in her apparel.
The Queen wasn’t perfect, but I know of no one that is. Awe is associated with her, but I would reserve that for those who don’t have the resources or privilege she enjoyed. We will never see those quiet heroes on the cover of magazines or the news. Their contributions are no less monumental when it comes to creating change. Shapeshifters of advocates and volunteers working on the front lines of important issues to create positive change. Void of pomp and circumstance, directly responsible for moving the needle forward on progressive projects and initiatives. Queen Elizabeth wasn’t on those front lines. Instead, she was in awe, acknowledging those who were and their achievements.
Queen Elizabeth was a daughter, sister, wife, aunt, mother and grandmother, and just like the rest of the world, her family was not immune to being messed up. Her kids can thank her for her strict, unyielding approach to protecting their reputations while maintaining and prioritizing her dedication to her people first and foremost. We’ll wait and see how her family fairs without her wise and discerning stewardship. Her reign is now a fait accompli.
Charles, now King, does not have the gonads his mother had. He’s already demonstrated a meltdown over a pen, not unlike a mouse scurrying in a room, bringing one to a tizzy. Should something more significant transpire, then what? But it’s a different time with different challenges. Queen Elizabeth was tough during her period of reign in history. I believe she welcomed her challenges to the best of her ability, sometimes under circumstances that seriously contested her beliefs.
I don’t know how long of a life the Monarchy has. I suspect it’s mandatory to own a pair of nonnegotiable gonads for the journey, and none of her kids have them in the capacity she did; and why should they having been raised during a different time? As for what will happen with the United Kingdom, we will have to wait and see. If Northern Ireland or Scotland chose to leave, it would diminish and weaken what we recognize as the Monarchy. The Commonwealth countries might also decide to reassess as they move forward, wanting to separate themselves from the shadow side of what the Monarchy historically represented.
Her funeral was nothing less than I thought it would be. Course Putin wasn’t in attendance, busy committing more war crimes. And Trump, the failed court jester from the perceived ‘Land of Entitlement and Illusion’ where he failed to amuse, was also not invited. Perhaps due to his comment, ‘he and Liz would get a cabin in upstate New York together.’ I’m unaware of his finances, but he’s bankrupt concerning protocol and fineness.
History was ripe at the time to allow Queen Elizabeth to flourish. As consciousness shifts toward more unity and not separation, it will be interesting to see how its complexion shifts. This event is an end to a significant era for many people. With it comes heartache. Anytime we lose what we thought was a constant, we can get unnerved. But the truth is that the only constant is change, and we’d do well to embrace that and not fear it. Positive transformation and growth stem from there.
I will miss that extraordinary allegiance that was normal for her, and having conviction in who she was, was routine. We all have access to those life traits but don’t practice them. We are also capable of awe, but it isn’t easy when we don’t foster our gifts.
I suspect the best soap opera may commence once the funeral is over and the family regroups. With the nucleus now absent, some members can become unhinged instead of following what was demonstrated before them. I can’t help but believe the screenplay is already being written. Perhaps it’s time to cancel cable as a soap opera could unfold and plug into some of those bangers and beans.
For now, I imagine Queen Elizabeth looking down with Philip, enjoying an exquisite cup of tea with the same surrender a woman feels after removing a pair of painfully tight high heels. Exhaling and declaring, “I’m glad that’s over.”
Conversely, she could be looking down, hitting her forehead with the palm of her hand as she watches them all beetle around without her stoic guardianship saying, “what were you thinking?”