03 May 2007
Queen Elizabeth II is in town for her fourth state visit to the United States. She originally came in 1957, then 1976, 1991, and now in 2007. She will be commemorating the founding of Jamestown, VA, but I secretly suspect that she is looking forward more to the Kentucky Derby rather than a bunch of recreationists in powdered wigs.
I am also looking forward to the Derby. Anyone who reads this blog knows that horse racing has been an avocation since I was five. Therefore, the Queen and I will be having a good time on Saturday watching the beautiful animals doing what they do best .... Run. He's rather high in the odds, but I shall be rooting for Circular Quay shown above. Liz hasn't yet informed me of her favorite.
In honor of all the pomp, circumstance, and silliness, I give you a reprint of an old article. If you haven't as yet seen THE QUEEN, why not? The movie is wonderful, Mirren is wonderful, and the lady it is about is wonderful.
Last night Helen Mirren won an Oscar for playing The Queen. Soon she may be invited to tea with The Queen. This gives me a chance to repost an old column called "Happy Accidents". So with Helen I say, " Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Queen"
In a time of bad getting worse news, it is sometimes helpful to remember that earth shaking matters that seem horribly wrong at the time actually do work out for the best.
When Edward, then Prince of Wales, first met American divorcee Wallis Simpson, she did not make much of an impression on him. But over the next few years he fell deeply in love with her, ultimately giving up the throne to marry her on November 11, 1936.
His brother Bertie, known as the spare to the heir (Crowned as King George VI) became the unexpected king without any real training for the job. By all testimony with the assistance of his wife, Elizabeth, he picked up the burden he never expected to carry, probably destroying his health in the process and led his country through the horrors of the blitz and the aftermath of WW II while his brother went his own selfish, well heeled, playboy way.
The King and Queen were still young enough to have another child, possibly male, but they didn't, so the weight of being a future monarch fell on the young shoulders of a little girl nicknamed Lilibet. It was a different age and she knew she had only one course in life: To do her duty. Her sister Margaret could be a lovely, bright light of a socialite who aged into a charming if totally useless adult, but Elizabeth had to continue.
King George, Queen Elizabeth (Later Queen Mother), Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret
Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Princess Anne
She could very well have had failings as a mother though her children seem to like her whatever their upbringing may have done to their ability to form lasting, healthy attachments. She has probably had to sacrifice her own will and pleasure for the sake of her duty simply because it was her job. For more than 50 years Elizabeth has continued. Whatever sorrows or personal tragedies have fallen to her, they rarely made it into public unlike the scandals of her rather rambunctious brood. Lacking in real ruling power, she has remained the source of history, as well as advisor to heads of government and politicians who sometimes forget the long view.
If she laughs and smiles now, it is the joy of a full life, lived well by someone who simply did what was right for her time, her family and her nation. For an accident resulting from a selfish action, that's not bad.
HRH Queen Elizabeth II at 80