Long to reign over us

Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday morning (local time) and I amoung all loyal subjects am devastated. She has been our Sovereign my entire life, the only monarch my parents have ever actually known, and as somehow-Prime-Minister Truss noted (where she -- inappropriately, as Nigel Farage and I agree -- also revealed the new King's regal name before Buck House did) was the rock in which modern Britain was founded. Sure that foundation was rapidly increasing irrelevancy in a world where their great contributions to the world were villainized and minimized, but its unclear what concrete steps Her Majesty could have and failed to take.

I first saw her on the steps of the Capri Centre in Red Deer in 1990. I last saw her in Calgary during the provincial centennial in 2005. She will forever be in my heart: she's MY royal, she's MY Queen, and I'll make sure to keep every bill and coin in which she graces and as quickly as possible dispose of King Charles III (why didn't he just change his name to Henry IX?) currency as I come across it. This was incredibly sad day, as South Park mocked, for Canada and indeed the world: we had hoped Her Majesty would have to attend the funerals of both her son and Justin Trudeau but that sadly has not come to pass.

On my second-most recent visit to the UK I picked up a bottle of Mead from Stonehenge which I admit I drank copious quantities of last night in honour of Queen Elizabeth II. I no longer can say "God Save Our Queen" and it will certainly feel weird singing anything else. Unlike 1952, the Empire's focus will not be so much on the incoming monarch as it will be on the outgoing one, and for good reason. After a relative flurry of monarchical succession in the years after Her Majesty Queen Victoria's death (Edward lasted 9 years, George V was the anomaly with almost 26, followed by the 327 days under Edward VIII and 15 years of George VI) we had just shy of three quarters of a century of stability at "Buck House".

That's highly unlikely to continue, with Charles likely to last less than two decades if not one, William (who is, believe it or not, forty) to be around a quarter century, and by then who can predict poor Prince George's fate? In 1952 the world was greeted with the novelty of the second Queen in slightly over half a century (and the realm's sixth ever) and a girl of whom not a lot was known. That we know all too much about Charles III is one of the reasons we don't really like him.

Perhaps it was Elizabeth's youth which "saved" her early on: it was understood that we would be getting a new monarch for likely a very long period, and therefore it was much more natural to be looking ahead as opposed to looking behind. Or perhaps that in the wake of the Second World War the mindset of the populace was more towards the future which surely must be brighter than the past we all collectively endured. Instead, we have a distant past (which she for many signified, as Joel Abbott noted) which was distinctively brighter and better, with an uncertain but likely darker future both in the poetic sense of the term and a literal sense, with the "green energy" policies which the new Sovereign enthusiastically supported in the form of out-and-out lying to his (we can now confirm) future subjects and various other groups around the world. When she came in we were a world newly at peace looking forward to the economic prosperity that would bring. When she left we were newly at war (psychologically, at the very least) and had angry people demanding that this economic prosperity be abandoned because plastic straws were just too useful.

Alas that sounds like some socioeconomic analysis of the world under Charles III which I am presently at no interest in engaging. This will continue to be a week and weekend of mourning, where I will drink more English (not UK mind you!) beverages and reminisce about a great woman who symbolizes an even greater institution. She is sadly gone but happily no longer the victim of the daily struggles of our mortal toil: I'm happily still here but sadly forced to fight on to stave off the twilight. She couldn't reverse the knob but she could help tamp down the hands on the dimmer switch.

Not a lot survives from 1952. Harry Truman was in the White House, Joe Stalin was in the Kremlin, Chairman Mao had just taken over in China. The British Empire was still a phrase taken seriously: it was not yet a joke, a punchline, and then a hate crime. Truman, Stalin, Mao are all long gone, but, until today, the Queen endured. Most of her cousins in the other European monarchies did not. She was a survivor, and they weren't. Ours is not an age of kings, and those born to royalty have to be pretty nimble.