Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ave But Not Vale. . .

Queen Elizabeth's address to Parliament was a real wake-up call to women who begin to count milestones after a certain age.

On her Diamond Jubilee celebration this lady will have sat on the throne of the Commonwealth that includes 54 member nations for 60 years. This includes the population of about one third of today's world.

I watched with admiration as this valiant 85 year old ascended the railingless steps and stood at a fragile mike to deliver her speech – no sturdy podium, nothing to hold on to – no teleprompter, only a few flimsy pieces of paper!

Talk about bravery!

Talk about poise!

Talk about gutsy!

All those years as an equestrienne paid off in front of the whole world, from London to Bejing, from the little isle to the tips of Africa and South America.

She spoke of the continuity of the Brits' national story and paid gracious honor to the man who was never crowned her king.

She showed she not only has grace, but a sense of humor!

I haven't always agreed with this eminent woman and at times have questioned the efficacy of the monarchy. But I confess this day she got my vote!!!

Her mother, the Queen Mum, lived to be 101. ER2 gave us the impression that she was, in the words of Mayor Giuliani, after 9-11, "Open for business!" for some years to come.

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, known as Lilibet, was married in 1947 and crowned in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953. I watched her coronation on a small school tv in Kenosha, Wisc. and thought at the time how gorgeous she was, a real "fairytale" queen, as they called her in the press.

In World War 2 as a girl of 14, she told the Brits, "In the end, all will be well, for God will care for us and give us victory and peace."

As head of the Church of England, she has been a beacon to many kinds of people. Winston Churchill described her as a child: "An air of authority and reflectiveness; sensible and well-behaved."

These same qualities came over the tv that day in Parliament. Few of us are queens, but there are many women with other titles - president, chair, administrator, governor, senator, doctor, lawyer, teacher, author – who can look to the long history of QE2 as a kind of lodestar.

When she addressed the United Nations in 2010, the Secretary General introduced her as "An anchor for our age."

If 1992 was her annus horribilis, certainly 2012 will be her annus fortunatus!

T.J. Straw

P.S. QE2 is an avid mystery reader!

1 comment:

  1. What a great and short history lesson of a time and a woman in power!!! Very nicely done!!!