I don’t have anything particularly new or original to say about the death of Queen Elizabeth II but I couldn’t let the moment pass without comment. The foibles and banalities of the British royals—or any royals—are not something I have ever concerned myself with. It can be rather tawdry, and caring too much about the daily lives of such people seems diminishing. As an institution itself however the Royal Crown is a thread and continuity across time that when it is working well serves an important function.
I have always been put off by the public displays of over-the-top pathos and emotionality we have sometimes seen in the past 20-30 years at the passing of certain royal and other public figures. It has always struck me as inappropriate and unseemly in a way I cannot quite articulate. Thankfully, I have a feeling we are not going to see that this time. I was talking to a friend yesterday, a person of full middle-age who grew up in a Commonwealth nation and whose relatives saw the Queen when she came through their remote community many decades ago dedicating public works projects, who called Elizabeth II “the last of the stoic rulers.” Living in London through the Blitz as a teenager will do that to a person.
I suppose once could say this of any time and moment, but the passing of Queen Elizabeth II truly is the end of an era.