The Royal funeral is finally over. U.K. Folk Museum and Medieval Theme Park T.M. can at last return to business as usual.
A few months ago, at the time of the royal jubilee, I noticed a level of global interest I had not expected. It occurred to me that all over the world, there were people (an awful lot of people) who wanted a Queen. It further occurred to me that to those people, it didn’t seem to matter whose Queen it was. If they didn’t have a Queen of their own, and they wanted one, they would adopt Elizabeth as their own.
Of course, this didn’t involve anything as complicated or difficult as a Queen actually ruling over anything. People didn’t want a Queen with power - but they wanted a Queen.
Now she’s gone, and the world reaction has been astonishing. A couple in Seattle sold their car to get the air fare to London. A man from Tokyo gave up his job because they wouldn’t give him time off to come and watch the funeral. Normal, respectable people have come from all over the world, and spent days on the Thames Embankment sleeping under plastic bags in the rain. Over the last week I have seen hundreds of similar stories.
This kind of behaviour goes way beyond celebrity fandom. It looks more like medieval pilgrimage, and the worship of saints. I’m not at all sure what’s going on, but it’s certainly a phenomenon. I am both puzzled and fascinated.
My thoughts: the leaders of this world seem to have lost their minds. The Queen always had a smile. Was always respectable. She was a symbol of stability is what has been stated over and over again in the US media. Stability is rare these days. I think we all know that an era is gone. What is coming does not bring a lot of comfortable feelings…
One note, the US media was floored by how respectable and quiet the crowd was. I do believe it was respect but I believe it was also grave concern for what comes next.
I am not trying to be bleak. I believe things will get better. But, it won’t come easily.
I choked up when the bagpiper slowly faded away as she was lowered into the vault. It was so symbolic of so many things right now.
Thanks fo rmaking this post Polyphemus. I hadn’t read it until now.
I was pondering the very same and you’re observation of a liking the parts of the event to a pilgrimage I think is accurate in many respects.
Queen Elizabeth was a Christian and understood deeply what that meant. I believe that thread was woven into the whole fabric of her life and drove her commitment to create a better world. The day of her Coronation she became the head of the Church of England. It may be a symbolic role but I had never really understood the magnitude of that connection, until recently seeing the heart wrenching scenes of the return of the orb and sceptre placed upon her coffin, symbols that reflected her very present commitment to her faith. That was teribly moving and curiously humbling to witness.
I have read below this quote and something similar elsewhere:
Queen Elizabeth, she quoted a verse from a well-known carol, In the bleak midwinter: “What can I give him, poor as I am, If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb, If I were a wise man, I would do my part, Yet what I can I give him, give my heart.”
Queen Victoria, her grandmother apprently is reported to have said;
‘I should so love to lay my crown at His feet.’
I think her grandmother’s influence and love was something she kept close to her heart, throughout her life. Queen Elizabeth carried that sentiment with her too.
The process of being considered worthy of Sainthood is long and complex. Perhaps in fifty years or more the possibility of Queen Elizabeth becoming Saint Elizabeth is not that fanciful. Only time may tell and then only faith will reveal it. Whether Royal or not, privileged or not her long entire life certainly was a loving one, which reached beyond her family, influencing many.