Tag: Queen Elizabeth II

The Tale of Two Tragedies: Elizabeth II’s Passing and Charles’ Ascension

 

You can’t fully prepare for someone’s passing, even though you know it’s coming. Look at Great Britain today. Queen Elizabeth II — God rest her soul — was 96 years old. The country mourns, and most of the world pays tribute.

I’ll add my two cents. While I am no fan of monarchies, constitutional or otherwise, there’s something to be said about such an exemplar of grace, humility, service, civility, and duty. Queen Elizabeth swore in her 15th prime minister some 48 hours before she died. She was the ultimate institutionalist, in a good way — preserving and protecting the continuity of the British throne for 70 years and 214 days, British tradition, and her extraordinary marriage to the late Prince Phillip. Her children? Well, not so much, but no one is perfect. At least Prince Edward, her youngest, and his bride, Sophie, are wonderful examples of happy and successful royals in their own right.

God Save the Queen

 

elizabeth IIThis week marks the beginning of Queen Elizabeth the Second’s Diamond Jubilee, her 7oth year on the throne. She ascended to the throne on February 6, 1952, when her father, King George VI, died. On an official tour in Africa, Princess Elizabeth, flew back to Britain immediately as the queen, formally acknowledging her accession on February 7, 1952. The formal ceremony is not something to be dashed off on short notice, so her coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. Yes, the formal ceremony was over a year after she assumed the office.

Queen Elizabeth II has led a truly remarkable life, and served as a symbol of the nation as it shed empire, outlasted the Evil Empire, and passed through all the cultural, economic, and geopolitical changes of the past 70 years. Through it all, she has been respected and loved by her people and preserved the monarchy through public service and disciplined personal conduct, avoiding entanglement with political movements and issues. She pledged herself to such a life at the age of 21, in 1947.

‘50s Broadcast Tech Tales

 

The UK had gone through hell during the Second World War, and its early postwar years were bleak. “Austere” was the accepted, understated way of putting it. Food and heating fuel were expensive and scarce. In 1952, Princess Elizabeth became Queen when her father died. This was formally confirmed in elaborate rituals throughout England and Scotland, leading up to her grand coronation in June 1953. It had been eight years since the end of the war. The UK economy was finally looking up. The English were ready to kick up their heels a little. So they staged what amounted to the first worldwide television spectacular.

With the Queen’s acquiescence—in fact, her insistence—the BBC’s cameras were permitted to observe almost all of a ceremony once held to be all but sacred. Announced long in advance, the Coronation resulted in the purchase of millions of TV sets, no longer exclusively associated with the upper classes. The live television signal was microwaved across the Channel to France, where it was broadcast in Paris and relayed onwards to Holland and Germany, whose viewers also watched the ceremonies in a growing number of fortunate private homes, and thronged the many bars and meeting places that already had television sets.

For the Resilient, with Deepest Gratitude and Respect

 

What you’re about to read deserves much better than the rude ignoramuses protesting the American president in London (not representative of all Britons I suspect) and reporting here at home have enacted in recent hours. It is a story of courage the likes of which this world rarely encounters, and it engenders gratitude and sorrow every time. It is D-Day.

From a New York Times article (hopefully those like me who don’t subscribe can also view) on journalist Ernie Pyle who was embedded with the troops on D-Day:

Reconsidering “The Crown”

 

Hi Ricochet! It’s been a while since writing. Holidays, friends and family along with a healthy dose of Steelers, Rams and LA Kings take its toll. Actually, I should really blame it on my new love affair with The Crown on Netflix. First I should say, I didn’t want to watch this series. It looked like it would be a slog through some Merchant Ivory/Downton Abbey costume drama that has never interested me. Forty years ago I would stand on the streets of old Londontown donning my AC/DC schoolboy uniform (for realz) as Her Royal Highness parade-waved us commoners from her gold-leafed carriage. I recall not really caring about any of it even then. It all seemed so … unnecessary. And now, I am reconsidering my apathy.

Queen Calls Entire Household to Emergency Meeting at Buckingham Palace

 

Something’s going down in Old Blighty:

Speculation amongst Buckingham Palace staff was rampant last night as the Queen’s most senior aides called her entire household to an emergency meeting today.

Servants from royal residences across the country have been ordered to London and will be addressed this morning by the Lord Chamberlain, the most senior officer of the Royal Household, as well as Her Majesty’s right-hand man, Private Secretary Sir Christopher Geidt.

The Queen at 90

 
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The Queen with her five great-grandchildren and two youngest grandchildren in her official birthday portrait (Credit: Annie Leibovitz)

She is not my sovereign. We rebellious colonists took care of that centuries ago, but still, it is hard not to look at the life of Her Majesty Elizabeth II without a certain sense of admiration.