Sunday, June 3, 2012

Diamond Jubilee

From The Wall Street Journal:
In his Victorian study of the monarchy, Walter Bagehot warned, "We must not let daylight in upon magic." Modern communications do just that. Sometimes for the best—we know that the Queen is a brave and resourceful woman. In 1982, she calmed down a madman who had gained entry into her bedroom at Buckingham Palace. She is unaffectedly religious. She is devoted to her duty, not as a prisoner of ritual but as a practical sovereign working to preserve the monarchy as a focus of multicultural loyalty in a diverse world—and succeeding beyond any reasonable expectation.

Sometimes not for the best—a late threat to her success was the antics of the younger royals, notably Princess Diana, and the Hollywood cult of celebrity that seduced them. Celebrity and monarchy are natural enemies. The first is about enjoying fame; the second is about performing duties. Elizabeth always realized the distinction. Her third prime minister, Harold Macmillan, wrote of her decision to ignore a terrorist threat: "She is impatient of the attitude towards her to treat her as…a film star.... She loves her duty and means to be a Queen." For a moment around Diana's funeral, it seemed that this dutiful woman had lost ground to the glamorous "people's princess." But the febrile mood passed; the monarchy recovered its nerve. And when the Queen Mother died, her highly traditional funeral showed people rallying to the more solid ideal.

Americans may not celebrate Elizabeth II's Jubilee as fervently as some other ex-colonials. They will, however, applaud. When magic survives daylight, and the reason is duty bravely performed, we are briefly in a better world. (Read entire article.)

The Mad Monarchist says:
During her life, the Queen has seen the highest and lowest points in recent British history. She was born into the most dominant, beloved, envied and respected monarchy in the world. She saw her country bombed, faced with the threat of invasion and endure with calm, solid courage, doing her part along the way in what became known as the “finest hour” of British civilization. Born when the British Empire was at its peak in size and influence, in the decades after World War II she saw the British Empire exit the world stage and enter the history books, earning her first historic distinction as being the daughter of Britain’s last King-Emperor. During her reign the Britain of empire and naval supremacy was replaced by the Britain of the social welfare state. She saw her generation, the British people who ‘kept calm and carried on’ replaced by the generation of “swinging London”. The era of television, sexual revolution, the Cold War and the Common Market of decolonization, the Commonwealth, the internet and the “War on Terror” have all also been the era of Queen Elizabeth II. When one considers what a vastly different world exists today as compared to 1952 it becomes less a cliché and all the more real what a remarkable rock of stability the Queen has been in the past six decades. (Read entire post.)
A King and three Queens
In the New Zealand regalia

1 comment:

julygirl said...

We have to remember, as a child, her parents opted to keep the princesses in London during the height of that dreadful period of World War II. When one lives through that, other dangers can be put into perspective.

Also, seeing the Queen as compared to her children's generation, one is made aware of the difference between that generation and successive generations throughout all societies, and the spiral of moral and ethical standards in general. The other day I realized I was raised by people who were raised by "Victorian" cultural standards, and that is the difference. But it was my generation who allowed standards to lapse, and we are where we are today...anything goes! As David Frost, (the gifted British host, interviewer, etc.), once said, "Why would you allow people to enter your home via Television who you would never invite personally"?