Skip to comments.The Queen of Duty. In an era of irresponsibility, Elizabeth II always does what is expected of her
Posted on 06/05/2012 5:53:12 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
It rained on the grand flotilla on the Thames marking the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. How appropriate. It meant that at the center of all the pageantry of the 1,000-boat extravaganza, an 86-year-old woman stood in the elements and waved to her subjects for hours, without betraying a hint of discomfort or complaint.
Queen Elizabeth is a miracle of dutifulness. In an era of irresponsibility, she always does what is expected of her. In an age of self-expression, she has subsumed herself in her institution. In a time of informality and ill manners, she observes all the rules, with grace and dignity.
Who knew that the British monarchy would assert its continued relevance by remaining so admirably out of step? The queen personifies almost everything disdained in our hyperdemocratic times when the new new thing is always celebrated. She is tradition incarnate, and despite, by all accounts, a dry wit unfailingly abides by the unwritten command that she never do or say anything interesting.
No PR person, no politician would ever counsel acting like the queen. A stuffy devotion to propriety isnt supposed to sell. Yet her approval ratings in Britain are nearly 80 percent. She is adored throughout the other 15 countries she formally rules. The Thames flotilla drew 1 million people, and her jubilee was the slightly jarring spectacle of a 21st-century celebration of a centuries-old institution.
In the 1990s, Prime Minister Tony Blair wanted to nudge aside the timeless Britain represented by the queen with his Cool Britannia, a new, hipper Britain held together less by the monarchy than by execrable shlock. Now, it is Blairs formerly with-it projects that are fit for a time capsule. He claimed his Millennium Dome, a vast structure housing an exhibition to celebrate the advent of the third millennium, would be a triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness, excellence over mediocrity. The dome turned out to be one of the worlds great white elephants, an expensive waste that demonstrated the essential callowness of its creators.
What the monarchy has that cant be simulated or invented on the fly is legitimacy. It is the accomplishment of Queen Elizabeth to have preserved and marshaled it. She knows that she is a national symbol, a living flag, to use Lenins phrase in explaining why the Romanovs had to be eliminated as a standing threat to the Bolsheviks. Even Britains silly royal rituals the queen owns all the mute swans on the Thames, which are tallied up for her every year have a whiff of majesty on account of their ancient pedigree.
If the makers of the European Union and its misbegotten experiment of a common currency had studied the British monarchy, they might have quit their foolhardy exercise in seat-of-the-pants nation-building long before they brought the Continent to the edge of the abyss. They might have understood the organic and distinctive nature of nations and the limits of deracinated bureaucratic rule, with no meaningful symbols, no long-standing traditions, no hard-earned legitimacy.
None of this is a brief against change. The British monarchy has lasted so long because it has been so supple and adaptive, in an expression of the pragmatic British temper. Robert Filmer, the 17th-century theorist of the divine right of kings, would look on the diminished role of the British monarchy with contempt. Queen Victoria, dubbed the grandmother of Europe because her relations were spread around so many royal houses, would view the shrunken influence of the crown with alarm. But Elizabeth is still queen, and in a few years could pass Victoria as the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
That is a testament to her work some 2 million hands shaken and countless ceremonies endured and her devotion to the role appointed her by history. In other words, she did her duty. God save the queen, the British sing. In Elizabeth, they have a queen worthy of the saving.
Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2012 King Features Syndicate
When I’m 86, I’d like to look so distinguished with a mushroom on my head ...
AMEN!! She is a FABULOUS LADY!! Wish we had some of her dignity.
The queen was well taught by her parents.
She is, perhaps, the only thing left in UK worth admiring.
God bless her!
They should give her a veto a see what she does with it.
It must be a heavy burden to have such a dud for a son!
William and Kate have the class to carry on the tradition. Sorry Charlie!
Learning about her WWII service impressed me a lot.
I just heard that Prince Phillip is in the hospital. Does anyone know the details? Quite surprising that Camilla is seated next to the Queen. I wonder if she is now liked than her own weenie son!
“Duty, Honor, Country”. Gen. D. MacArthur. Different world, different time. Don’t find much of it today- Outside our military
Queen Elizabeth II failed utterly in her most important duties:
1) she did not produce a suitable heir (even William openly shacked up with his future wife)
2) she has lead her church to become a New Age multicultural gay yoga club
Her uncle abdicated the throne.
Coming into the role from that perspective, and coming into it young yet old enough to understand what went on that brought her to it, must have made an enormous impact on her.
She is the exact opposite of her uncle’s “thinking only of myself and what I want” attitude.
What else to explain why she wore THAT hat?
Must have been something about it she thought the occasion called for.
My only other comment when I think of her - it’s really too bad how her kids turned out...
Elizabeth II is only the second British monarch to reign for 60 years (after Queen Victoria). George III just missed (reigned 59 years and 4 months).
God bless her....a remarkable woman.
First, William isn’t her heir. He’s her son’s heir.
Second, she’s hardly a dictator. If anyone could have instilled the duty value into her own offspring, she would’ve been the one. There’s no more inescapable example of devotion to duty, honor, country than her life and reign. But her children did not absorb that when it came to their personal lives. They did do so when it came to serving in Britain’s military.
Charles put Camilla first. Married a very young girl who was deeply in love with him, while remaining in love with Camilla, and Diana was emotionally fragile and went nuts over it.
Andrew married Fergie, of all people, and was himself a playboy type.
Edward apparently has done the most expected thing, marrying and living quietly as far as what we hear, although many thought that wouldn’t happen because to them he seemed the “gay” type. But Edward is irrelevant.
Ann, whose personal life was messed up, even more irrelevant.
If you think the queen had dictator like clout, because as head of the royals she could’ve controlled their decisions and behaviors by threatening to cut off their allowances or exile them from the family, you don’t understand it doesn’t work that way. Once you’ve gone public with something like that, the entire royal mystique is ruined and people say to **** with the lot of you.
As for the church of England, she’s the head of it about like she’s the head of the government...oh wait, she’s really not.
She’s the SYMBOLIC head of it.
There was a thread recently how the queen is totally absent from the gay rights debate. She has never once recognized that there are such people whose status is based on their sexual orientation. And they predict she never will. That speaks for how she really feels, because she speaks of all sorts of other groups of her subjects all the time.
What amazes people about her is that no matter the chaos or conditions around her, family or society, she “carries on”.
And that’s how she has preserved the monarchy.
Which is her real duty, as she saw it, and did it.
Maybe it’s waterproof.
Victoria reigned for 63 years and 7 months, which is longer than that of any other British monarch and the longest of any female monarch in history.
We shall see if Elizabeth can surpass her record.
The longest reigning monarch ever recorded was King Sobhuza of Swaziland from 10 December 1899 to 21 August 1982.
I doubt if Elizabeth can reign that long...