HRH Queen Elizabeth II
The Queen is visiting the US these days bringing pomp and ceremony to the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is present at the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement.
It is nice to share our "gracious Queen" with our American cousins. I think Americans are fascinated with Royalty. I suspect a little sorry at times they do not have any of their own. Over the years they have raised movie stars to such a plateau of admiration. They once even viewed a political family as if they were regal, President Kennedy and his family.
I am sure that many Americans are unaware that the Queen is Queen of Canada as well as of Great Britain. This is a lovely institution which differentiates us from the Americans. In practical terms, it separates the ceremonial head government from the executive head of government. It allows us to more easily disagree with the government without sounding disloyal to the country. The Monarch, like the flag, is a symbol of national unity which endures through time.
I am a bit of a Royalist. I come by it honestly as my mother was. She was very knowledgeable about the Royal family and British history. My grandparents came from Britain in 1903. It took my grandmother a long time before she considered herself a Canadian. I remember her once telling me that whenever I felt down I should find comfort in knowing I was "a member of the British Empire". I smile at this still. I never did find it very comforting.
I remember my family standing beside the road from the airport in 1951 to wave at Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip as they passed by on their first visit to Canada taking the place of her father ,King George, who was not well. It was not long after that, he died; and, she became Queen.
The Royal family, particularly, the Queen deserve our respect for their devotion to duty. The Queen, has faithfully carried out her duties with grace all these years. She seems determined to do so for the rest of her life, which may deprive Prince Charles from ever being King as she seems to be healthy at 81 and may enjoy the long life of the Queen Mom who lived to be 100.
King George was never meant to be king. His brother abdicated and the duty fell to him. He rose to the occasion. During the second World War the royal family including the children, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret remained at risk in Britain rather than seek safety in another country like Canada, where the Dutch Royal family was living. They stood firm as a symbol of courage to the beseiged British people. The princesses even helped nurse the injured.
For this they shall always be remembered and honoured.
I hope our American cousins enjoy the Queen's visit. Hopefully, thye can seen past the silly CNN coverage. It would be nice for to know some of her history and that her grandson, Prince Harry is about to go to Iraq to answer the call of Britain to serve in that ill conceived war. He could have easily avoided it but it seems the aristocratic sense of duty has been passed on. I suspect some of that also is a result of his mother's influence as well as that Royal Family tradition of service, for as a Spencer she had even greater aristocratic credentials than the Queen.
There is a lesson to be learned here which I suspect the American don't get. When the Nation is at risk the aristocrats should be the first to step forward in her defense. This does not happen in the US. Virtually, no member of the governments' family rose to the occasion. I personally think it a disgrace that the President's two daughters did not find a way to serve if the country was really at risk. Instead, the economic elite was more than willing to have others answer the call, professional soldiers drawn from the economically less well off and mercentaries, like Blackwater, Inc, the new private armies. War profiteering and tax cuts for the rich in a time of war is not an admirable sight and should immediately bring to mind the question "For what are we fighting and dying?" if those with the most to loose don't step up.
Few wars are ever fought for "God and Country". WWII may be the last such just war. The Royal family remain a symbol of courage and national unity in the face of a true threat. It makes it easy to sing the words, "God save our gracious Queen, long live our noble Queen. . .",
I hope our American neighbours may be tempted to hum along when the Anthem is played.