September 8, 2022- She passed, as she had lived-Stoically, without the pain that some blinkered souls had wished upon her and mindful of the overarching love that many, even in nations that are rivals to her own, felt towards her in life.
I was never much for the idea of colonialism-or paternalism, for that matter. That there are still countries which are “owned” by others, including the territories of the United States, seems quaint, in an insipid way. That there was ever a legal system that permitted one ethnicity to subject another to legal chattelhood, or to a second class status, seems sinister at the least, and pure evil at worst.
Some fuss has been raised at the fact that a 22-year-old Elizabeth Windsor visited Cape Town, at the inception of apartheid, and did not send thunderbolts down on its initiators. She was probably kept from the decision-making process, but no matter. A ceremonial royal can occasionally mount a bully pulpit, but not often. Her influence in most issues was far more sublime, delivered with a sly remark or a piercing look.
To most, Queen Elizabeth II’s life, and its end, have been occasions for catharsis-either love for how she conducted herself on the world stage, or vitriol for the way Britain treated some of its colonies, prior to the decolonization of the mid- Twentieth Century. She herself struck me as a benign presence, who nonetheless rose to greet her challengers and critics with the same stoic mien that she employed with well-wishers. She was also capable of listening to her Prime Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries, and of advancing with the times. How many nonagenarians keep a Twitter account or a YouTube channel?
When Donald Trump, on an official visit, walked ahead of her, the Queen just shook her head and kept walking at her own pace. She knew that certain people would just do as they’ve always done, and would have to reap the consequences of their actions, regardless of input from anyone else.
In seven decades, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, “Her Majesty” to most, and Elizabeth, to a select few, kept her nation’s image far more cogent and vital than a lesser personage might have. There may not be another like her, for a good many years.
Rest in Peace, Your Majesty.