6.02.2010

The weight of her crown


Elizabeth II has had her share of problems. One year it got so bad she referred to it as her “Annus Horribilis.” The most recent incident with Fergie is the last in a series of, shall we say, family problems.

I’ve always liked Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, for the same reason Prince Andrew did: she’s fun. So, I was saddened by the mess she got herself into, particularly since her two daughters, Beatrice, 22, and Eugenie, 20, are currently fifth and sixth in the line of succession to the British throne.

Despite it all, Elizabeth II has reigned - but not ruled - with unwavering dedication to the job she swore to do more than half a century ago.

Today she celebrates the anniversary of her coronation.

Should the queen still reign on 12 May 2011, at the age of 85, her reign would surpass that of George III, and on 10 September 2015, at the age of 89, she would surpass Queen Victoria as the longest-reigning monarch in British history.

Curiosity piqued, I decided to take a look at the line of succession, and, amazingly, there are 100 persons with legitimate succession claims to Great Britain’s throne!

The LIST is fascinating. The first 15 heirs are, of course, direct descendants of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip.

Beyond the royal family, the list includes persons born in the 1920s and the youngest, ranked #26, is Leopold Windsor, age one.

Quite a few have been excluded by British law because they either became Roman Catholic or married a Roman Catholic. None have been excluded for having been born out of wedlock.

Believe it or not, the list includes members of the royal families of Norway, Romania and Yugoslavia. The king of Romania has been excluded for marrying a Roman Catholic, but his descendants remain in the line of succession.

The list is a work in progress, constantly changing with births and deaths. Prince William’s children will bump Prince Harry down the list and so forth.

I regret that Princess Diana did not live to see her son become king. Given the longevity of the royal bloodline, I might not, either. Seems that Prince Charles, born in 1948, will be past his prime if he lives to ascend the throne.

We got our first TV when I was 11. After adjusting the outside antenna, the first snowy black-and-white images to appear on the screen were of film footage from Elizabeth II’s coronation. June 2, 1953. Some guys were going with her under a tent to anoint her naked breasts with oil. I was hooked! I would reconnect my cable TV to experience another British coronation!

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Read the New York Times account of Elizabeth II’s coronation and marvel at how much her kingdom has changed!

7 comments:

Infidel753 said...

I rather doubt that the monarchy will long survive Elizabeth II. It's an anachronism in the 21st century.

What support it retains is probably mostly due to Elizabeth's personal popularity. Prince Charles is widely regarded as a crackpot and an Islamist sympathizer.

I vaguely remember reading that the Queen had called somebody an annus horribilis ("horrible asshole")..... they probably deserved it.

B.J. said...

Well, that would be funny, but “annus horribilis” means “horrible year.” That was 1992 when Charles and Diane officially separated and Windsor Castle burned. It’s not every day your castle burns.

The Brits do love their royals – the pomp and pageantry. I do, too. Maybe girls never outgrow fairy tales.

Tiny said...

What an interesting article of history that gives a vivid picture of the Queen's coronation day. The part of her speech that leaped out and grabbed me is:

These ('the formation flying of Britain's most modern defenders against air attack') were the highlights of the day in the human sense. There were others of a temporal and spiritual nature, too, within and outside the transformed Abbey glittering with the jewels of the lords and ladies of the realm and cram-jammed with important guests from all over the world representing almost all religions, almost all races, and all dedicated to the idea of the freedom of the human spirit.

Her recognition of 'all religions, all races, and all dedicated to the freedom of the human spirit,' reminds us that we can choose any religion or not, and all races, is a message for all people of all times, dedicated to the freedom of the human spirit regardless of the appearances in the outer world. A reminder that we have a choice in the matter.

Great post, BJ. You give us lots of history to implement in our daily lives in the present age. Keep 'em comin', gal.

PS: I gathered Queen Elizabeth II referred to her "Annus Horribilis" as pertaining to a horrible year rather than a particular person.

tnlib said...

Great post and interesting article. I just have never considered Charles charming or spirited. Blob comes to mind.

B.J. said...

I had never heard Charles speak for any appreciable length of time. I went to Charleston, S.C., to the Maritime Museum at Patriot’s Point, Mount Pleasant, to view the Mary Rose exhibit. The Mary Rose was Henry VIII’s flagship, and Prince Charles headed the project to raise the ship from its watery grave. Before I saw the artifacts, there was a video presentation by Charles. I was impressed. He seemed very articulate and intelligent and was very casual in his demeanor. I do, however, think his taste in women sucks, but wasn’t it the Bard who said, “Love is blind”?

Debra said...

B.J.,

That was extremely interesting. You are a wonderful journalist and I certainly enjoy your DemWit Blogger. That picture of the Queen is quite beautiful. The newspaper article painted quite a
lovely picture. Thanks for your hard work and dedication to keep us all so well informed.
Love, Deb

Frodo, he of the eternal memory, said...

Frodo accepts applause for having defined friend Merry as "comparable" to Queen Elizabeth II. He does wonder however, if Liz illegally picked wildflowers in North Carolina?