September 16, 2022 — I will be one of many Americans who rise early Monday to watch the funeral service of Queen Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, Regina. I’m not even sure I got her name correctly. But as a history lover, it’s fun to watch history being made, even if I’m not feeling a personal loss.
As an American, it’s difficult not to cast an eye at British history, which is even more complex than our own, with five hundred more years to review. I share a few random observations; honestly, I don’t have an overall point. History itself will tell us what her life and long monarchy meant.
On the media: I can’t remember a single death having this much coverage in my lifetime. I was a first-grader when JFK died, and we didn’t have 24/7 news coverage.
The formal mourning period is ten days, and I’m sure that our media networks have caused airline stock to rise because many of their pundits and stoolies are near the room where it happened. (It does not have anything to do with Alexander Hamilton, adding the relevant cultural reference, the result of a writing class I took earlier in the week. Can you tell when I’m being snarky, er, cheeky?).
There have been plenty of important news stories affecting Americans this week, but we’ll hear about them after QEII rests at St. George’s in Windsor. AND NOW I’M SHOUTING. DID YOU KNOW THAT ROGER FEDERER IS NO LONGER DOING TOURNAMENT PLAY? Now that is a story for the ages, among others.
I expect Kerry Sanders in his polo shirt and Bermudas outside Heathrow, discussing the winds over the airport. Stay tuned.
One more thing: I credit the friend who brought it to my attention (though I can’t remember who it was). Our networks did not recently broadcast our President’s speech on democracy but will BROADCAST THE FUNERAL OF A FOREIGN QUEEN. How do you feel about them apples?
On those who got away: Seeing a photo of QEII’s children walking behind her casket on the way to Westminster Hall, I noted three men walking behind Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. The photo caption identified William and Harry, but there was a third man. Thinking through the lineage, I wondered if it was one of the husbands of Andrew’s fascinating (see what I did there?) daughters, Eugenie and
Beatrice? One has a husband with a name that sounds like an Austin Powers villain. Brooksbank? Nor was it Mr. Crookshank. It was Peter Phillips, the son of Princess Royal Anne and her ex-husband, Captain Mark Phillips. Young Peter was not given a peerage title after his 1977 birth, even though he was fifth in line to the crown. Among his many accomplishments is a liaison with the cod liver oil heiress. Can you imagine going through life being known as the cod liver oil heiress? I think I’ll keep my title as the ag teacher’s daughter, thank you very much.
The Crown: My brother sent me an article about the various headpieces worn by QEII. The article highlights five headpieces, the most magnificent of which, the Imperial State Crown, rests on her casket lying in state. She wore it for her coronation and all but three times in opening Parliament. I cannot imagine how heavy it must have been with thousands of gems encrusted on the gold base.
A Few Random Gripes: A friend sent me the AP Stylebook’s British Royal Family update upon QEII’s death. It was interesting reading for those who only have written in these common colonies. I object to the American press using “The Queen” as a first reference, which always happens. Americans don’t have a queen except for Beyonce, and I wish her a long and healthy life. Should the first reference be “The Queen of England” or one of her many other titles?
If you want to get confused, research “what is Charles’s last name?” The answer to this question goes back one hundred years when Charles’ father, Philip, was a Greek royal. When QEII ascended to the throne upon her father’s death, Prince Philip wanted his family name Mountbatten used. The Brits still disliked anything German-sounding (despite both families BEING German or a reasonable facsimile thereof), and the Powers That Be decided the royal name would continue to be Windsor. In the early 1960s, the rule changed so those without a title could use Mountbatten-Windsor. Now let me get this straight. Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, went by the name of Harry Wales in the military, but his children are Archie Mountbatten-Windsor and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor. Got it? Oh, and Charles doesn’t have a last name. His last name is the Third. (And for a trip down the royal rabbit hole, read further about Charles I and Charles II.)
Thanks for going with me on my journey of observations from this privileged Queen of Her Own Office.
History, as always, has the last word.
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PS. Want more? Read about Queen Victoria’s funeral.