Diamond Jubilee 1: The Magic in Monarchy
“Her Majesty’s a pretty nice girl…” (Sir Paul)
Tuesday marked the end of the four-day rousing hoopla known as the Diamond Jubilee. This auspicious event was in honor of Queen Elizabeth, celebrating her 60 year reign. London streets were filled with partying and revelry. “Long live the Queen!”
Paul McCartney was there (rather Sir Paul, excuse me!) and Sir Elton John and other celebrities and of course a host of dignitaries. Piers Morgan of CNN was especially ebullient over this celebration and boasted how the monarchy had grown in favor with himself and with a myriad of other commoners over the past few years. The Royal Wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton on April 29, 2011 at Westminster Abbey was a definite hit with its Cinderella-like magical ceremony and was quite a catalyst in raising the approval ratings.
For me all of this was fascinating. Anything significant that goes on in the UK always catches my eye. Being born there (yes, yesterday was my birthday!), in London in fact, demarcates the country as a special place in my heart, it’s my point of origin. You see, I’m an immigrant who came over with his Polish mum and dad from England when I was 2 1/2 years old. So if there is a celebration in Londontown you have my attention, I am automatically enthralled.
Kings and queens, barons and dukes, lords and ladies… Britannia has them all. The love of royalty has survived into modern culture. Rock stars such as McCartney and Elton John get knighted. Pomp and ceremony put on display at the Royal Wedding and gazillions watch glued to tv’s. We dress our daughters as princesses from an early age and feed our children healthy doses of Disney DVD’s.
Brits still take personal pride in their royalty and strike up the cheers when the trumpets sound and the queen appears with her entourage with Prince William and Princess Catherine smiling regally. What is our fascination with this pageantry, with royalty, with monarchy? What is it about banners, castles, knights and kingdoms and silver and gold, velvets and jewels and crowns on parade that stir our hearts? Is there some kind of magic in monarchy that captures our imaginations? Is that what thrills our souls?
There are, I’m sure, many good theories. But not having time to research them all I have to say that I think we are fascinated because we equate kings and queens and the like with happy endings and generally good things. And good kings are really good things. And good kings (and queens and the like) usually win. I think of Lord of the Rings and Narnia. And I think we also like to project ourselves as kings and queens. Fairy-tale monarchs without a care in the world! Hopefully we would wield the power, riches and rulership well enough. Better to rule over than to be ruled methinks! We even might be quite good at it.
Then again maybe some of us would be just as happy to be sons and daughters of a benevolent monarch. We’d be princes and princesses… happy-ever-aftering! Though I think there is more to this than meets the eye… (more to come… stay tuned for Part 2)