As a native Brit who has lived in Dallas, Texas for over seven years, I have truly fallen in love with everything Texan; Tex-Mex, Line-dancing, Two-Stepping, Drive-Thru Dry Cleaners, Fresh Jalapenos, The State Fair, Big Tex…..the list goes on.
But over the last week, the news media has reached fever-pitch with the fascination over the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which I have to say has brought the normally stiff-upper lipped, unemotional Brit that I am almost to a glassy-eyed tear.
One of the questions though that I have been consistently asked over the past week is why the Brits are so enamored by an institution that seems so archaic, and why the people of the Great Britain are so excited about the up-coming celebrations.
To me, it’s simple. The Queen and the Monarchy represent everything that is good about not only Great Britain, but about the civility and kindness of the people (or subjects, should I say) of the great nation.
Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, was born Princess Alexandra Mary Windsor on April 21st 1926 and after the abdication of her uncle Edward VIII, was thrust into becoming heir to the throne.
Since her life was turned upside down with the death of her father and became Queen in 1952, she has single-handedly dedicated her whole life to the betterment of her nation every single day in the public eye. In essence, she was forced to give up any privacy for the benefit of her subjects.
A cynic might easily say, “Well….she’s pampered, lives in castles and palaces at the expense of the tax-payer and has no real constitutional role”. Well that’s true….to a degree. But I sure as hell would not swap my life for hers, even if I’m struggling with the mortgage payment.
The Queen is way more than a figurehead to the British people. She is our ‘weights & measures’, our ‘stop-gap’ between odious politicians with frightful agendas and her people. Under the constitution, the Prime Minister is required to have an audience with The Queen once a week at the palace, whereby, behind closed doors, she ensures that the government are carrying out the duties expected by the people, for the people. Even though none of these conversations have ever been recorded or noted, it is well known that she can make the most stalwart of PM’s quake at the knees with just one look…..just one. After all, Her Majesty has probably more political experience than any sitting PM as she’s been in ‘this game’ since Winston Churchill.
However, I’m most certainly digressing here. The point is that she is simply a ‘tour de force’ in the fabric of the nation, that binds one common cultural identity through good and bad. She is a beacon of behavior, civility and the perfect model of grace.
I, for sure, am one who is sad that I shall not be waving my Union Jack on the banks of the Thames this weekend, or sipping Pimms in Hyde Park. But I can sit back here in Dallas, Texas watching proudly on the networks as her Majesty is cheered on by the nation for a well-deserved celebration of 60 years of being on the throne.
Your Majesty, as your subject abroad I salute you. “God Save the Queen!” Long may she reign over us.