Sunday, 6 February 2011

Long Lives the Queen (6th February 1952 - Present)

I happened to fall upon the realisation earlier that today is the 59th anniversary of the death of King George VI in February 1952.

Interest in this under-stated monarch has been rejuvenated of late because of the success of the cinematic block-buster, 'The King's Speech' which I have gushingly written about here, here, and here.

I've always had an interest in the Royal Family - an interest that begat a more general fascination and love of history in the whole as I mentioned in my blog here.

A Second Elizabethan Age?
Today therefore sees the 59th anniversary of the accession to the throne of our current monarch, George VI's daughter, Elizabeth II.
Queen Victoria

King George III
Whatever the reader's individual's view of the monarchy may be, I hope that all can take a dispassionate view on what has been a rather incredible reign.

Elizabeth II is currently the 3rd longest reigning monarch in British history. She is now just 96 days short of eclipsing the then record set by George III, her great-great-great-great grandfather who passed away on January 29th 1820 after 59 years and 96 days on the throne. Elizabeth II will surpass this date on May 13th.

The only monarch of course to have reigned for more than 60 years is the current's great-great grandmother and grand-daughter to George III, Queen Victoria. She reigned for 63 years and 216 days when she passed away on January 22nd 1901. Elizabeth II, already Britain's oldest reigning monarch, would take the title of the country's longest reigning monarch on September 10th 2015. She would be 89 years of age at that time.

A World of Change
She has lived through a transformation in British society and in global relations, as did her great-great grandmother, these past 59 years. She has seen 11 Prime Minister's come and go and David Cameron is now her 12th.

Her reign has encompased the build and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the arrest and imprisonment, release from captivity, Presidency and retirement of Nelson Mandela and the sounds of Chuck Berry, Elvis, the Beatles, Led ZeppelinQueen, ABBA, Dire Straits, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Blur, Oasis, the Spice Girls, Take That and all of this modern music from the past decade.

Family Strife
She has seen her family live a typical late 20th century lifestyle.

Her sister, her only daughter and two of her 3 sons have all married and divorced. Between them all, they have done much to bring the institution of monarchy  into disrepute. For which reason, its future can not be laid out before us easily. Will the public want King Charles III (or George VII as he'll probably be known) and his wife Camilla to lead us? Will they want a jump to another generation under King William V? What will happen to the dominions? Will Australia cut away and elect its own Head of State and will other countries from the former Empire follow?

Queen Elizabeth II
That is all for the future, but what can not be denied is that the current encumbant has gone about her life and duties over the past 59 years in a roubstly professional and respected manner. She has devoted her life to the public service of her country which she sees as being 'God's will' - a devotion that her uncle King Edward VIII was unwiling to commit and which led to his abdication and the accession to the throne of her father. If she has the constitution of her mother who passed away at the age of 101, then there's no reason why she can't go on to her 90th year and eclipse the mark of Victoria.

Whatever happens to her and to the future of the family line which she has endeavoured to resolutely uphold despite many personal family setbacks, one thing can be certain on this the 6th day of February - her father, now being made famous by Hollywood, would be proud of his daughter.


  1. your posts are very, very intersting, i ve learned o lot abvout your country. so long!!

  2. A very interesting blog which I cannot disagree with in ANY shape or form.

    Only those opposed to the Monarchy would have any reason to object to the concept of monarchy and the likes of Plaid.

    The concept of a Presidency does not interest me in the least as what we would probably be left with is a former PM or senior retired politician. All who would come with some baggage that would aggravate people on the opposite "side" of the political spectrum.

    No one can fault the absolute dedication and hard work that the Queen has done since 6th February 1952. Everyone probably thinks all she does is open bridges and hospitals, collects flowers and waves.

    We all know she reads all her despatch boxes and works hard, giving advice, behind the scenes.

    Her hard work probably began in 1936 when her uncle became King Edward VIII and her father became heir, which made Princess Elizabeth 2nd in line to the throne. In January 1936, everyone imagined King Edward would marry and have children. But by December of the same year, Edward had abdicated and Princess Elizabeth was now heir at the age of 10.

    Princess Elizabeth served in the Second World War in the ATS.

    As Queen, I cannot recall her being quoted as saying anything one would not expect from a monarch. She has hardly missed any of her duties due to ill health and no one can fault her for smiling at all the events she attends. She smiles and makes small talk when we would all love to be honest and tell people what we really think of them, but she carries on.

    Its annoying that anyone would suggests she should abdicate as she gets older, but as she approaches 85, she looks far younger than her age would suggest and I would not be surprised if she lived as long as her mother, so that would be some record for any future monarch to beat!

    I am pleased that someone who is from the next generation after me is equally as supportive of the Queen.

    Whilst the Monarchy may not be the best system, I have spent the last 51 years trying to work out what would be a better alternative. I havent found it yet.

    The Queen may be a Constitutional monarch and everyone may think she has few powers, but I would disagree. Supposing a future Government was going to do something draconian that would endangers our freedoms, the Monarch COULD speak out and I am sure the country would listen. Its not every day a Monarch might call upon his/her people to come out onto the streets and possibly bring down a Government.

    We had our own Revolution back in 1649 and that led to the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 and our style of Constitutional Monarchy and democracy started to evolve.

    For this, we have to be thankful to Oliver Cromwell and that is why he is one of my heroes in history and I enjoyed New Years Eve afternoon in the Oliver Cromwell museum in Huntingdon.

    Like you, I wish the Queen a long reign. We must not forget that today is the anniversary of the death of her father, who she adored, so its also a day of sadness for her, whilst we may look in it as the anniversary of her accession.

    Will Charles become King? I dont know, but the Queen certainly looks in good health and if I was a betting man, I'd put money on her outliving Charles. So I guess I am now guilty of treason.

    I am sure she is looking forward to her Diamond Jubilee which she can share with the world who will be in London for the 2012 Olympics.

    Have a good g & t tonight, Your Majesty...