Queen Elizabeth II
Many years ago, I was outspoken in my absolute disregard for the British Monarchy. As it goes with many things, years later, I found myself being rather happily corrected in my assumptions.
We seem to dismiss and disrespect that which we don’t understand. Living in a “non-monarchy,” it’s very easy to scorn a system that’s seemingly challenging on the taxpayer. Yet, the Brits seem to welcome this challenge with a smile and some form of inebriation!
My outlook completely changed in the spring of 2001, in the charming and quaint town of Windsor, U.K.. My aunt had taken me to the high road, running just along Windsor Castle because a procession was about to take place. His highness, the King of Jordan, King Abdullah and his wife, Queen Rania were in town and were to be feted and driven through the streets in the Royal carriages. As a lover of history and international relations, I could not pass up the opportunity to see this Middle Eastern power couple!
What took my breath away was the number of people who turned out, in the middle of the week, to see the procession! I remember I was wearing new arch supports in my trainers and my feet were not happy at all. But that frustration quickly turned to awe and reverence when Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth suddenly popped into view and smiled at her cheering subjects. I melted then and there, and in an instant, regretted every “royal” snub or jeer I had ever uttered! To this day, I remember that smile more than I remember King Abdullah or Queen Rania or the people on the street or the gold-laced carriage or the horses. I remember thinking she smiled right at me but I suppose this must be wishful thinking. That smile, in one instant, undid the ridicule and judgement of the previous years. And in that instant, a new royal fan was born.
I must let you know that prior to this unravelling, I had met Prince Charles and Princess Diana in person and was even granted a gold level Duke of Edinburgh award from the Duke of Edinburgh himself, the late Honorable Prince Philip. I was not undone by any of them. There was a bit of star-struck awe at the sight of Princess Diana up close – she was quite beautiful!
That day, in 2001 in Windsor, I began to understand what an absolute treasure the Queen is; not only to her U.K. subjects, but to her subjects of the Commonwealth. Her 70 years of service is not matched by many. In fact, the Queen is the only living monarch to achieve this landmark milestone. I was fortunate enough to be in London for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations and I was stunned- the fanfare, the pomp, the circumstance, the flyovers and the party- What a party!! It’s a celebration I will never forget and it was a very quick education in the appreciation of tradition. My only regret is that I cannot be in London today for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, so I will say only this:
Thank you your Majesty and Congratulations! You Go old Girl!!