Monday, February 06, 2012

This wasn’t meant to happen

She was never meant to be Queen.  When her Grandfather George V died the heir was Uncle David (Edward V11) and the ‘spare’ her father Bertie (George V1) - with his paralysing stammer. But then David met Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee and it all went to pot.

Even when her father was King there was always the possibility a male heir could have been born but her grand-parents, with some foresight, always instilled in her a strong sense of duty.  She had a happy childhood with her younger sister Margaret Rose as playmate and then aged 13 she met and fell in love with a handsome 18 year old sailor Philip – a distant cousin and a lucky escape from all the chinless wonders around Mayfair at the time.  He gave up his titles Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark to marry her.

During WW2 she joined the A.T.S. and qualified as a motor mechanic.  Her father wanted to make sure their love was real so she had to wait till she was 21 to get married and Charles and Anne were born within a year or two.  In 1952 she and her husband were watching wildlife from a treetop platform in Kenya when her father died in his sleep and she became Queen.  Philip broke the news to her and they returned home.  That was 60 years ago today.

There have been difficult times; Philip was furious when the Queen refused to take his name of Mountbatten and he earned the Queen Mother’s disapproval when he went on one of his long wild-life trips leaving the Queen alone over Christmas.  Then she had her ‘annus horribilis’ during which three of her four children’s marriages foundered and Windsor Castle – the place she regards as home – was almost destroyed by fire.  In 1996 her son and heir Prince Charles was divorced and a year later Diana – her daughter in law, was killed. For a time her popularity was at an all time low, but gradually people began to see the Queen for what she has always been:  a good woman who always strives to do the best for the country and its people whom she loves.

Her first prime minister was Churchill and he and all subsequent prime ministers have benefited from her wise counsel and support.  Where else could they speak freely knowing it would go no further?

Her passions are horse breeding and horse racing and dog breeding and dog calling.  She is acknowledged to be one of the best dog callers in the world and if it were not for her unbending sense of duty I’ve no doubt she would be quite happy to live the life of a country woman and forget the interminable visits she is required to make. 

Over the years she has acknowledged the invaluable support she has from her husband and as her grandson Prince Harry said recently:
‘Regardless of whether my grandfather seems to be doing his own thing, sort of wandering off like a fish down the river, the fact that he’s there – personally, I don’t think that she could do it without him, especially when they’re both at this age’.
The Queen is 86 and Philip 90.

The Queen is a deeply religious person and I was pleased this year when delivering her Christmas address - in the stifling atmosphere of political correctness - that she spoke openly of the biblical aspect of Christmas.
God bless her and God Save the Queen


Mike and Ann said...

Agree hole heartedly with everything you say Pat - EXCEPT about her service in World War I.
Warm regards, Mike and Ann.

Granny Annie said...

I have always been so proud to share the Queen's name. As a child it was easy to think of myself as royalty because my first name is Elizabeth.

Pat said...

Mike and Ann: thank you for pointing that out. Silly me!

Pat said...

Granny Annie: it is a lovely name. Did they call you Lillibet like the Queeen?
My sister Margaret and I totally related to Elizabeth and Margaret although I was the younger, naughtier one.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

I love all this British royalty stuff. I'm an unabashed Anglophile. Next week I'm seeing Richard III with Kevin Spacey as the broken King. It's all an extension of the same story.

john.g. said...

I'm not religious, but I like the Monarchy!

Pat said...

UB: my flippin' comments keep vanishing. Kevin should be great as Richard 111.

John: Ours have stood us in pretty good stead I think.

Eryl said...

I was wondering what this post was leading to, thought she might have died, yikes.

Although I think having a monarchy is a bit of an arcane extravagance I do like and admire the queen, she seems like a good, solid sort of woman.

I didn't know she was up a tree in Kenya when her father died; great story!

angryparsnip said...

Your last two post have been wonderful.
I must admit to being an Anglophile at heart.
In today's instant, give me, I am important, I deserve and I want society, I really admire the Queen very much.

cheers, parsnip

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Such a lovely tribute, Pat and a reminder of what a really wonderful Queen she has been, and still is....!

I had an all wooden Jigsaw Puzzle of her father, (When he was King) and mother and their two daughters---all riding horses in full regalia...! I gave it away a few years ago to someone who is an English Royalty lover....But I had it as a child and I LOVED it!

A Very Happy Jubilee, Dear Queen Elizabeth....!!!

Pat said...

Eryl: how could you? Reminds me of when I was in Greece and newcomers came to the house next door.
'Any news of England?' I asked.
The Queen has died.'
She roared with laughter when she saw my stricken face. It was almost like saying your Mother has died.

Parsnip: that's lovely to hear:)

Naomi: how sweet that you had a jigsaw of them and how generous of you to give it away.

debra said...

A lovely post, Pat! My mother-in-law had quite a collection of memorabilia from King George's jubilee and Elizabeth's coronation. I am fortunate to have inherited it all.

Mary Witzl said...

I'm not a big fan of the monarchy, but I think the Queen is a decent woman who has done admirably, especially considering what an awful job she has. And she really DOES take her job seriously, which isn't something all people born to power and privilege necessarily do.

Pat said...

Debra: how great that you have kept it.

Mary: very true. I know I would quail at half the stuff she has to do and always to have to look one's best- which very soon palls.
However I could spend many a happy hour polishing the rocks. I LOVE sparkle.

R. Sherman said...

. . .then aged 13 she met and fell in love with a handsome 18 year old sailor Philip. . .

It's always those navy types, isn't it? My mother fell for one, too. It must be the blue.


Pearl said...

God Save The Queen indeed.

I watched a Public Broadcasting special on the life of the Queen a couple of years ago, three full hours of her life, and I came away from it full of respect for her and just a wee jealous of having such a lovely person as the face of the country...


Guyana-Gyal said...

You won't believe how I know all this. My mother. She tells me stories about the Queen all the time. She grew up in British Guiana, you see.

Pat said...

Randall: yes I'm remembering 'Andrew' in my book. He was a sweetie.

Pearl: we're happy to share her with you Pearl.

GG: yes I remember your Mum has a keen grasp of all that history.

Lonely Rivers said...

Good to hear from you! I have a lovely second grade memory of being in the school auditorium in upstate New York USA...straining to see the black an d white TV images of the new queen of England at her coronation. Of course my teachers are to be credited for providing this magical experience for us - and for influencing a lifelong fascination with the monarchy. In recent years,pop-culture, Diana, The Grandsons, and the King's Speech and all have rekindled that interest

Luna said...

Hello Pat
I've always been interested in royal history so your post was a pleasure to read. I too, have a lot of respect for Queen Elizabeth II. Did you enjoy the move The Queen? It was handled pretty well from a film point of view and of course Helen Mirren was outstanding.
Hope you're warm and toasty at you new hearth.

Pat said...

Lonely Rivers: you - like me will enjoy the Diamond Jubilee celebrations then - later this year.

Luna: I loved the film. Lionel Logue treated my first husband's stammer when he was a young boy and Helen Mirren was the girl friend of someone I nursed when he was a child and ha introduced me to her.