The Queen is no more. I don’t know what to say. This is not a day I was expecting to have to deal with somehow…we have denied reality for some time and just expected her to go on and on. Strange to now have to refer to ‘the King’.
There will be no further queen for at least 100 years, as 3 kings will follow (all things being equal). The loss of the Queen is a massive jolt. Not unexpected, but a jolt. Am I a royalist? I don’t know. I guess I don’t much like change. But I cannot escape the sheer anachronism of monarchy. Especially the British monarchy, where our entire systems are inextricably entwined with the institution of monarchy. It makes no sense in this day and age. But I have to tell you that I felt a strong sense of relief that the Queen’s successor is instantly installed at the moment of her death. There is, for me, an unexpected comfort in that continuity…as though, if that did not happen, we would fall into some sort of de-stabling void. Not that things will not change…they most certainly will.
A head of state, I guess, is the face of a country. If your president or king is murderous, duplicitous, inciteful, full of hubris and greedy, then these characteristics may well be attributed to the very country being ruled by that head of state..more especially if their reign/time in office is long. Elizabeth II may have given us a traditional, stable, somewhat old-fashioned and benign face to the world…but I’ll take that image, especially if the choice is some of the presidencies we’ve seen elsewhere.
In fact, I’m often a little rattled when commentators in the UK refer to ‘the president’. They mean, of course, the President of the United States…but sound like they’re talking about a president of the UK. I guess it is a mark of honour to her that, to the world, there was only one ‘Queen’.
She, to me, was a reassuring background presence. Her passing highlights the fact that I’m coming to a time when there may soon be more passings, if the nonagenarians around me take their leave too.