Prior to the Queen’s demise, we mostly referred to kings in the context of wars, empires, adulterous relationships, divorces, beheadings and such other kingly matters. So a king, today, seems utterly removed from modern life. ‘King’ just sounds…wrong…even if it is treasonous to say so.
The reigns of our queens seem to have a somewhat different flavour…not all perfect, or tranquil, or peaceful or even uneventful, by any means; just not so…bullish I guess; not so egotistical. Certainly compared to Liz II. (Apologies to anyone who finds talk of Kings and Queens antiquated…totally understand).
Our national anthem, which (I think, weirdly) places emphasis on the monarch, has had to be amended – ‘God save our gracious King…..’Send him victorious’ etc. It’s strange to sing. But maybe this emphasis is not so weird…maybe the monarch is so entwined with the state that this is a prayer or anthem for the continuation of the state as embodied by the monarch, and therefore continuation of ourselves/our country. I wonder what the feeling would be if some other long-lived monarch or head of state were to die…what would that feel like, to the citizens? It’s not like Gandhi or Nelson Mandela dying – the Queen was not any kind of hero. I think it sort of feels familial in some way. Can’t quite explain it. But a lot of people do feel a personal loss.
It is evident that, although there is a fair amount of indifference to the Queen’s death, folk of all ages have been deeply affected – which has really surprised me. The younger members of the population (as the rest of us), are disturbed/discombobulated by the effects of Brexit, the pandemic, climate change, Mr. Putin… and now the disappearance of the one steady anchor point for the UK…the Queen. But, nothing stays the same, even if they stay the same for a long time. Long marriages end (however they may end), people pass on, old buildings are demolished, empires collapse, dictators die. Yesterday the handle came off my well-cared for, 30 year old stainless steel saucepan. The law of entropy says that things will tend towards disorganisation and break down, and evolve…into the next thing. A transformational energy. So this is a time of transition for us. The new King has a lot to live up to, and I wish him luck. Long live the King. And to the youngsters…know that things always change (they always have done), events will keep happening and you’re best to keep rooted (in your faith if you have one) and that in any case, all will be well…we always find a way.