“Nobody does it better…” Carly Simon belted out years ago and that would certainly be a song to summarize the 60 year reign of Elizabet II. She has been head of state longer than any other monarch. Her knowledge of history, current events and politics is encyclopaedic. She is at her age flexible and ready to take on new ways of doing things.
While the Royals ostensibly did not do much to support Diana, it has come out over the years that she did receive medical care for her bulimia and other emotional issues. At her death, the Queen bowed to public sentiment and lowered the royal banner to half mast. Additionally, she spoke to the nation of her care for Diana, acknowledged her place in the hearts of the people and spoke as a grandmother with the responsibility for helping to raise her two grandsons. It is a little known fact that all royal children in the immediate family are the “property” of the monarch no doubt to protect the succession.
She has gracefully handled Charles’ marriage to Camilla, Andrew’s indescretions and those of his former wife, Sarah Ferguson, and has demonstrated her marvelous sense of humor that surely has bouyed her through all of these troubles. Perhaps it is her total honesty with the people that, in addition to her service to the country, has won their admiration. The year Diana and Charles were divorced and Andrew and his Wife also moved to end their marriage, she included the lines “this has been my annus horribilis” to acknowledge both the burden on her and on the public of these distracting and unfortunate events.
But it is also the consistency in her character that has provided continuity through the years of her reign. She has been able to field the politics of numerous prime ministers; the change of administrations in Britain’s closest ally, the US and that moment when politcs leads to war – WWII (in which she served in uniform) and conflicts since that time. Before her father had died, she replaced him in the annual trooping of the colors and appeared riding side saddle with a hat made “feminine” through various changes. The public were amazed.
Her dress has not made her a fashion plate but over the years, she has added brilliant colors to enhance her look. But the gloves and the handbag have always been there. At the same time, this woman so careful about protocol has been a talented dog trainer, horsewoman and sports afficianado in other areas. From her WWII service, she learnedow to fix cars and is not unfamiliar with how other items she encounters in her life and travels.
In short, this is an admirable soul who has worked hard all of her life and she is focused on the welfare of her country and, at the same time, her own family. Where else can you find that combination? “Vivat, Vivat Regina Elizabetha.” Like the first Elizabeth, we have enjoyed another golden age under your moral leadership. The size of the crowds, the variation in age and their uniform enthusiasm all endorse the fact that this woman has been a stabalizing force in their lives for many decades. At 95 she is thr personification of the essential British national character – one of surprising ability to survive adversity. With the changing demographics, she is still working miracles in the arena of public relations – something US politicians can’t seem to pull off.