Interrupting the planned blog post today with a special Royal Salute!
Given that you are likely making the most out of this summer week before vacation season wraps and students are back to school, you might take a little light reading on the subject of longevity. Whether you are a British Royalist or not, the occasion of Queen Elizabeth ll becoming the longest serving British monarch next week, is something to be celebrated. For in historical terms in our lifetime and beyond, we may never see this accomplishment repeated again.
Approaching her 90th birthday next April, Elizabeth ll will have scored two major longevity milestones. Must be in the genes. Her mother Elizabeth Queen Mother lived to 101, her grandmother Queen Mary died at 85 and her great grandmother Victoria lived to 81 and reigned for just over 63 years.
World’s most famous face
As Head of State for the UK, Elizabeth ll has always been in the line of sight for those born there and in Commonwealth countries like Canada since the early 1950’s. Her most famous face is on our money, postage stamps, courtrooms and walls of government offices, not to mention the countless souvenir items over 63 plus years.
When I was a child, someone, likely my grandparents in England, sent me a small jigsaw puzzle made of wood and there she first appeared to me face to face, Her Majesty – with her crown, orb and sceptre and an ermine robe. Easily amused whenever I was sick in bed, several times I would put her back together piece by piece. My first real encounter with the Queen was at the Toronto City Hall in 1984 when she passed mere metres in front of me in her open landau carriage. I think she waved at me.
My other delightful brush with a royal on tour was at the 1985 Queen’s Plate horse race at Woodbine racetrack in Toronto when the Queen Mother passed close by me wearing a robin’s egg blue silk dress and hat. The only un-regal thing about her was a white bandage on her tiny left leg. Even so, that was acceptable and with the light floating nod of her head, the race could go on.
A steadfast sense of duty
There will be many words awash to celebrate this outstanding event in the news coverage next week, about a woman who has been arguably the best world ambassador Britain has ever known. Her annual Christmas speech and countless addresses to thousands of people around the world have somehow seemed cut from a template of scripts, but it is her steadfast sense of duty and her longevity that are to be admired – in spite of all the talk about the relevance of a monarchy in the 21st century.
Abdication? Not in my little wooden jigsaw puzzle life.