Ah the Queen. Her royal highness. Mizz Busy Lizzie. Breaker of chains. Owner of beagles. Mother of adulterers and (alleged) paedophiles. Yes, the monarch formally known as Princess has successfully presided as Britain’s head of state for over seven decade’s. Celebrating a reign with as many significant achievements as she has burdens, since her inauguration in 1952. Making history by becoming the first sovereign in over 200 year’s to accede while abroad. Enduring a veritable malaise of post war, pre war tragedy. The Queen has witnessed the appointment and subsequent failure of numerous Prime Ministers. The passing of her husband, our nations most venerated comedians, Philip, the duke of York. The inevitable decline of our economy. The tragic death of Princess Diana. Conflicts. Recessions. Mrs Brown’s Boys. Jim Davidson. So many atrocities.
During her tenure the Queen and the aristocracy in general has been the subject of much social scrutiny. Considered as a bygone institution, representative of exalted hereditary privilege. An imperialist regime, funded by the taxpayer, that provides negligible benefits for those who subsidised their lavish lifestyle. The Queen and her entitled family, aren’t elected official’s. Emblematic of our democracy and our society. Personally, I couldn’t be more ambivalent to the whole thing. Sure, to have an institution that is funded by the tax payers seems like a arcane distribution of wealth at the expense of the poor. But just think what it must be like to be Queen? Thrust into a life you didn’t choose.
Having your life dictated by a predetermined set of ancestral obligations, sounds almost Dickensian. Like genetic incarceration. Trapped in a life that affords immeasurable opulence, yet tempered by oppressive responsibility. Hardly slavery, but not exactly a life of independent frivolity either. Imagine having to make regular public appearances at gala’s, state opening of Parliament, garden parties, Chelsea flower show, entertaining foreign dignitaries. Having to make a concerted effort to indulge in a procession of self serving conceited diplomats and “Philanthropists”, discussing banal conceited subjects. Having your image commercialised. Emblazoned on gaudy commemorative ceramics, stamps, currency and even album covers. Yes, the rhapsody of Bohemian is as much of British iconography as double-decker buses, under-performing national football teams.
Personally, I couldn’t be less interested in a system of imitation autocracy. I regard the Queen in much the same way as Frank Drebin does in “The Naked Gun”. “For as silly an idea as having a Queen might seem to us, as Americans, we must be gracious and considerate hosts”. It’s a curiosity of British imperialism. A fallacious attainment of an antiquated system of governance, long since disbanded. But the Queen, bless her, is deserving of recognition. Now I’m not just saying this because this Jubilee entitles myself to a four day weekend. Nor that when she does permanently abdicate, that a week of mourning will commence, allowing us sufficient time to reconcile the outpouring of grief we will no doubt endure, while not going to work. No. But because any person that has had to host the likes of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Tony Blair and Rolf Harris, and remain as dignified as our majesty, has earned our esteem.
Congratulations your majesty. And thank you for the 2 days away from work.