Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor

more than “flex”

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Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, RIP.

There are approximately 7.9 billion people on earth. Less than 10 percent are over 70, so more than 7 billion people living today have known only one British monarch. The queen ascended the throne before I was born.

I’m fascinated less by the queen’s passing than by the various reactions.  Mark Evanier has decided, “The Internet Era has created people who were famous for being famous… And in these times, that’s all ‘royalty’ is.” Huh. I understand anti-royalist vitriol or adoration of QEII, but I was not expecting her to be cast as Zelig.

When Elizabeth became the queen, the British Empire contained 70 overseas territories with hundreds of millions of people. But the number of territories shrank by 80% during her lengthy tenure. That she could keep most of them within the Commonwealth is no small feat. President Biden ordered all United States flags to half-staff on September 8, 2022, through her interment circa September 19 in her memory.

Elizabeth would likely never have become queen if not for the abdication by her uncle Edward VIII in 1936. This made her father, George VI, king until his untimely passing in 1952. So it’s a bit of luck that she became the longest-reigning monarch in British history.

The announcement of her death came just two days after the queen was photographed while appointing new Prime Minister Liz Truss at the Scottish estate. Truss is the 15th prime minister the queen had sworn in, with her first being Winston Churchill.

I’m impressed with how quickly information was updated on WikipediaVanity Fair had a nice obituary. Here is some queenly trivia.

The Hollywood Reporter shared 15 Stars Who’ve Played the British Monarch. Incidentally, The Crown paused filming after QE II’s death.

The AmeriNZ take

Arthur is an American-born blogger living in New Zealand for more than a quarter-century. What he wrote on Facebook reflects my thoughts quite well.

“I’m personally saddened by the death of Queen Elizabeth, even though I’m a firm republican (lower case “r”). She devoted her life to public service, and I admire her for that… For most of us, she is, at the very least, a link to a constancy within our own lives: She was always there. Presidents and prime ministers come and go, but the Queen was constant.

“As we get older, we all lose the links, the anchor points, that have kept us, for lack of a better word, moored in our own lives. But everything and everyone ends, and so, too, do those moorings… While I may not be a fan of monarchies, I can nevertheless admire the Queen for a job well done.  London Bridge is down. Farewell.”

Feeling for Charles

The new king, Charles III, will never be as popular as his mother. This is partly tied to his messy divorce from the popular Diana, followed by her tragic death 25 years ago. Nor is he as well-liked as his heir apparent, his and Diana’s son William. Some folks, before Elizabeth’s death, expected that Charles would abdicate in favor of William. This would make little sense, as William’s successor, George, is currently nine years old.

statement of Charles III

I was puzzled when someone I know, in response to the posting of the statement above, posted on Twitter, “It’s hard not to see this as a flex.” First, I had to look up the definition of flex in this context. “To talk in a boastful or aggressive way” or “to make an ostentatious display of something: SHOW OFF.” I do not agree AT ALL.

King Charles III vowed lifelong service in his first address. But it is inevitable that the monarchy as we know it will shrink. The Skimm noted: “The royals remain a symbol and a living embodiment of Britain’s past, which includes centuries of planning and profiting from colonialism and slavery — which they’ve never formally apologized for.

“Meanwhile, the newly proclaimed King Charles III has said he plans to scale back on the pomp and circumstance. This means fewer working royals, reducing the taxpayer money needed to support them. But in the 21st century, it may become more difficult to justify the public footing any bill. Especially as the UK faces its most serious economic threats in a generation… And as scandals (think: Prince Andrew) continue to tarnish the royal family.”

God save the 73- year-old King.

Charles, Prince of Wales turns 70

Charles’ shoelaces are pressed flat with an iron every day.

Prince CharlesIt may be softheadedness, particularly since I think the whole idea of monarchy and primogeniture is rather silly. Still, sometimes I feel sorry for Prince Charles.

After all, the only job for which he has been trained to do is to become king. And his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, stubbornly, remains alive and shows no signs of abdicating. He is the oldest and longest-serving heir apparent in British history.

Worse, because of his massive royal wedding to Diana Spencer, which turned into a marriage gone very wrong, almost no one really wants him to be king at all at this point. They favor his eldest son with the late, beloved Diana, William, who had his fairytale wedding of his own with Kate Middleton. William has now fathered three more heirs of his own.

To the degree Charles is tolerated, beyond royal protocol, it’s because Charles appears to have been a good dad to William and Harry. This was especially true after Diana, the fun, sensitive, compassionate one was killed in 1997. The folks in the UK seem even tolerant of Charles’ second wife, Camilla, who he probably should have married in the first place.

Charles represents his mother in many functions, much having to do with the Commonwealth. He also does quite a bit of charitable work, especially regarding education and the environment. He frets about the world of plastics his grandchildren are going to grow up in.

No wonder that being first in line for the British throne may have gone to Prince Charles’ head.

“The Prince of Wales… has reportedly earned a special nickname among the staff at Clarence House: The Pampered Prince. That’s because, according to Amazon Prime’s new documentary ‘Serving the Royals: Inside the Firm,’ Charles needs help doing just about everything.

“‘His pajamas are pressed every morning, his shoelaces are pressed flat with an iron, the bath plug has to be in a certain position and the water temperature has to be just tepid,’ Princess Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, revealed in the documentary…

“This isn’t the first time that Prince Charles’ odd behavior has made headlines. A recently published book by Tom Bowers, ‘Rebel Prince, The Power, Passion, And Defiance Of Prince Charles,’ includes interviews with more than 120 people who share outlandish stories about working for the Royals.

“Apparently, Princess Diana’s ex brings his own toilet seat with him when he travels, changes outfits five times a day, only recently discovered what Saran wrap is and never shows up to a dinner party without his own food.”

Quoting the Simon & Garfunkel, “How terribly strange to be 70.” There was birthday party earlier this year, but today’s the actual natal day.

Q is for Queens

“Five monarchies in Europe have eliminated male preference: Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.”

The last couple of times for Q, I did Queen, the rock group, and Queens, the NYC county. Obviously, I’m stuck in a rut, because I’m doing queens again, this time referring to the monarchy.

Of course, there have been woman rulers for a long time, whether dubbed queen, czarina, or other titles.

I suppose I should differentiate between someone named as queen, wife (sometimes consort) of the king, and someone who serves as monarch. For instance, in Jordan, when American-born Lisa Halaby married King Hussein, she became Queen Noor when she converted to Islam. But when Hussein died in 1999, and his son by a previous marriage became King Abdullah II, Abdullah’s wife became Queen Rania, with Noor becoming queen dowager.

As far as I can tell – and please correct me if I’m wrong – there are only three current queen monarchs: Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (pictured above), Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (pictured to the right), and the one who just turned 85.

The rules of male primogeniture had been in place for many years in most countries, which meant that the only way a female could become a monarch queen is if her father had no sons whatsoever. This is, of course, the case for the world’s best-known current female monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, whose father George VI had two daughters, she and Margaret, and no sons.

The rules of primogeniture, though are changing. “Five monarchies in Europe have eliminated male preference: Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark.” However, the Norwegian change is not retroactive and therefore does not affect the current succession where a younger male is ranked over an older female.

Spain and the United Kingdom are also considering the change; however, for the latter, this would require changes in the law in not only the UK, but the 15 other Commonwealth realm countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.

ABC Wednesday – Round 8

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