Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II • 1926-2022
The Queen is dead, long live The King.
Years ago I read a book about Her Majesty by famed biographer Ben Pimlott. She is about as fascinating a figure as you'd expect. It's because of this book that when I think of Queen Elizabeth, it's usually in the context of her extraordinary dedication to the monarchy and service to her country. No matter what you may think of her in any capacity, you gotta respect her dedication. I've seen more than one documentary on The Queen, and it's always stuck with me how she dug in with the rest of Britain to serve as "Princess Auto Mechanic" during World War II...
Photo from the Imperial War Museum, London
Every day since then, she's continued to serve her people with grace as the face of all Britain to the world. And she was very good at her job. As well she should be, since she's had it since she was 25 years old.
If you want to know a little bit about the history of the Royal Family without having to read stuffy biographies, have I got a short CGP Grey video for you!
And if you want to know how Her Majesty Queen Ellizabeth II happened when royalty is a primarily male-dominated concept (until recently, natch), have I got an even shorter CGP Grey video for you!
And if you're dying to know what good The Queen is when a constitutional monarchy reduces her to nothing more than a ceremonial figurehead, guess what! Yet another short CGP Grey video to explain that to you too!
As you'd assume, all is not perfect in the land of royalty.
I find the entire concept of a monarchy to be antiquated and impractical (it's my duty as an American to feel this way). I think that the idea that somebody is qualified to hold any political position based on genetics and name recognition to be full-on nuts (even in the UK, which isn't an actual monarchy but a constitutional monarchy where the Queen doesn't hold much actual power). History is replete with examples of bad rulers who got the job just because of who their mummy and daddy were. I wouldn't put Queen Elizabeth into this category... but it's still incredibly weird to me that this kind of thing is still going on in the Year of Our Lord 2022. Maybe I would feel different if I were next in line for the throne. Though I'd like to think that my first act after having a massive party for my coronation would be to abolish the monarchy, so I dunno.
There are many examples I could drop about how the Queen is problematic to me. But here's one that has bothered me for a very long time: Her Majesty has a long record of homophobia, and infamously didn't allow partners of gay staffers to attend her annual Christmas Ball at Buckingham Palace until protests in 1995 changed the mind of her and her handlers. 1995! That's surprising (but hardly shocking), as you'd think that somebody who is supposed to represent all of the people would make even a tiny effort to recognize the LGBTQ persons that she rules over (not that Americans are ones to talk given how our leaders are no better... and, in fact, worse in many regards). The fact that she could have done something... anything... to make LGBTQ persons feel a welcome part of her reign but never did is kinda shitty behavior, to be honest.
And so there it is. I'm sorry for her family and all those subjects who loved her, but really hoping that King Charles III does even a little bit more (or a lot more) to be inclusive of all his subjects. And if not? The guy is 73 years old (long may he reign), so maybe I'll see it happen in my lifetime if I'm alive when King William V ascends the throne. Which is entirely possible if he has more of his mother in him than his father, as she always seemed so compassionate towards people... all people, regardless of station or circumstance... than others in the Royal Family.
And now, because I can't help myself, here's a CGP Grey video about tumbleweeds...