It is hard to imagine that my entire life had been within the lifespan of one Monarch, Queen Elizabeth, and she shows no sign of stopping – as one commentator put it:
… she has strong ankles and a constitution of a Yak
Over the few days the country has been in a sort of frenzy, even those Republicans wanting to raise their head above the parapet have gorged themselves on ingratitude and criticism, is too much as for a woman who has worked solidly for 60 years and is 85 years old to have a couple of days in the sun without the constant harping on about democracy and hereditary? The Queen, and interestingly we never specify which European Queen we are talking about, has given the United Kingdom a continuity in the painful transition from Empire to a smallish European country off the coast of Belgium – we have hardly noticed our world standing has diminished, the transition has been made palatable.
The role of Monarchy is not only to act as an anesthetic, it is also the represent the country in a totally unbiased and neutral way, an elected President would, by definition, be subject to partisan patronage, and would be divisive and would polarize society and not unify; no matter what the role of a President they would be of ‘this or that Party’. A constitutional Monarchy is a Republic with a neutral Head of State.
The Queens role has not only helped us transition from Empire, but she has occupied the Office of Head of State with grace and style. She was the Diana Spencer of her day, look at the photographs from the 50’s and you see a vivacious young woman who became Queen, in one photograph – I think it was her first State Opening of Parliament she looks like she is almost enjoying the job, she was very easy on the eye and I am sure was able quell a few tempers by a look.
Many think that because I am Socialist I should be anti-monarchy, but far from it; there are many social battles to be fought, more so under the current Government, but the Queen is not party to them and I am grateful that we can have social revolution with continuity – the Government may change, but the State remains – constancy in change. Of course there is the hereditary aspect of the Monarchy, but how else can you achieve neutrality?
In the United Kingdom we have been spoiled, we have had the security of one Head of State for 60 years, and I wonder when the Queen is no more and we wake up and notice that change is ever more inevitable if we will be able to recapture that confidence in the State. I really do believe that the Monarchy is an agent of order and continuity, and we have had the privilege of 60 years of continuity – what comes next?
When the toast ‘the Queen is dead, long the King’ is heard it will signify the continuity of the State, but also herald a period of uncertainty as we adjust to the fact that we have lost an integral part of our society – for now I will toast the Queen as she was hailed at her coronation:
Vivat Regina, Vivat Regina Elizabetha – Long live the Queen, Long Live Queen Elizabeth