Sunday 6 February 2022

Seventy years a Queen


Today Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne 70 years, more than 6 years longer than Queen Victoria and almost 10 years longer than King George III. Send her victorious, happy and glorious, long to reign over us, God save the Queen!

A Romanian femme fatale once asked me if Englishmen ever felt emotion. I replied yes, when we thought about the Queen. I feel like repeating that remark today though I mentioned it when the duke died last year.

I like the the monarchy, as Lord Melbourne said about the Order of the Garter, because there is no damned merit in it.

Thank God the monarchy is not compatible with a truly meritocratic society, or equality of opportunity, or post-imperial guilt or separation of church and state. It represents hierarchy, nationhood, a very long and beautiful tradition. It represents hierarchy, nationhood, a very long and beautiful tradition. But it's only nationhood and tradition now that people like, not hierarchy or inequality.

My favourite story about Her Majesty, who is very funny in private, is this. When Clare Short went to kiss hands on becoming a cabinet minister, her mobile telephone rang and she rummaged through her large bag, spewing the contents on the floor, before finding the telephone. As she did so it rang off. The Queen, in what Matthew Parris called the greatest moment in her reign, said sweetly, 'I do hope it wasn't anyone important.'

There are some English people who say they have nothing against the royal family as people (how could they have?) - it's the idea of a hereditary unelected monarchy that they hate. I, on the other hand, am not interested in the princes and princesses in the least , only in the institution, the idea of inheritance. (Except for the Queen and Prince of Wales, whom I like a lot.) 

Are you not moved by the idea that King Edgar was the first king of England and was rowed along the river Dee by the other English Kings as a sign of their fealty in 973? 

From him an almost unbroken line leads to H.M. the Queen - broken though by the Revolution of 1689. It represents hierarchy and inequality, two important and good things, but these are not what matters- it represents tradition and the sense that we English, Welsh, Scots and (Northern) Irish are one family.

Mark Steyn said, "Say what you like about dynastic rulers but generally they're beyond ideology: in a sense, a king is his own ideology."  I wonder if the monarchy is above the equal opportunities, non-discrimination ideology which is so incompatible with monarchy.


"Christianity, and especially Catholicism being, as I said in "The Country Doctor", a comprehensive system of repression of the depraved tendencies of man, is the greatest social element. Catholicism and Royalty are two twin principles. I write in the light of two eternal truths: Religion and Monarchy, two needs that contemporary events proclaim and to which any writer of common sense must try to bring our country back." 

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