Let the Queen Be!
Being raised in two Commonwealth countries, New Zealand and Australia, I had a childlike fascination with the visits of the Queen – I couldn’t make much of the fuss but I thought the fuss worth being made. She drove past in her gleaming-ly clean car, and we caught a glimpse of Her Majesty, and that was about it, but it seemed worth it.
We knew she was our Queen, still is for that matter. But we weren’t sure what that really meant because we were far away from the palace, and grew up in an era in which Australia and New Zealand felt a sense of abandonment from the ‘Mother’ country. ‘She’ was turning into a garrulous auntie, and the Queen didn’t escape our censure.
(There was one occasion when we did find out about the power of the Queen – of her representative, the Governor-General of Australia. He sacked the Australian government of the day much to the delight of the Conservatives and equally to the chagrin of the Labor Party.)
Enter my youth, boundless with reaction and opinion. The Queen! She represented the past and authority, both of which we thought pointless.
Get rid of her. Get rid of everything that appears anachronistic. Get rid of government, and then of course try to get rid of anarchy – much more difficult.
But I grew up and shifted down the road from the Queen -five miles according to Google Maps, 13 minutes by car. She got closer and close up we are always different. Was she waving to me?
In a shifting world, troubled by lack of constancy and filled with a growing anxiety, our Queen plots a steady path of calm, and don’t we love calm – Stay Calm is a national motto.
I also began to treat with due respect people who were due respect. The Queen is due enormous respect in that she is the Queen, and in that she has fulfilled her role with conviction, compassion and grace. Sixty years is a long time in which Prime Ministers and upstarts have come and gone. She gathers bigger crowds than Pop-stars and Sports-stars (which may not be saying much). She has lived through the hell of World War 2 and every other conflict that has since ravaged shores close by and far away. She has advised heads of State, no doubt with wisdom, caution and the tempering of experience.
Not everyone likes her. But many do, a disconcerting ‘many’ for those agitating for a Republic. They believe the Monarchy should be dismantled; privilege stripped from them and given to all, or as the case normally is to those who do the dismantling. People who despise privilege always revel in it when given it, the more so when they take it.
Queen Elizabeth has been a good Queen. She hasn’t had everything handed to her, on the contrary she has gained much by hard work and a love of her people. I hope she lives long and healthy.
Let the Queen be!!