The Coronavirus Diaries, 8th September 2022; The Queen is Dead

A cousin sent me a truly terrible poem someone had rushed out when the news of ERII’s death broke. I protested. She said I was harsh. I said no, I like poetry and if you want to honour Her Maj poetically cut out the mawkish, the glib, the trite, the Queen was none of those things. Don’t worry, I shan’t inflict it on you though I imagine if you are curious you could find it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Hopefully Simon Armitage will come up with something more thought provoking.

I am no fan of monarchy, and I know despite all the dithyrambs on tonight’s news the Queen had her faults. She interfered with legislation which might affect her finances; she only started paying tax very late in her reign; but like many in this country I had a reluctant admiration for her, and I loved her performances in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, and her appearance with Paddington earlier this year in her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

She is the only monarch I have ever known. At primary school some of our hymn books still had versions of the national anthem which began God Save Our Gracious King, so I knew there had been kings. Mind you, throughout all my schooling old text books predominated, so that National Anthem might have been about her grandfather, or conceivably her uncle rather than her father. All stamps, all bank notes, though not all coins, throughout my life have shown her profile. Coins were proof there had been kings and queens before her. Pre decimalisation in 1971 you held history in the palm of your hand with pennies and ha’pennies going back to the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign. Savings stamps, and I still have some somewhere, showed Prince Charles or Princess Anne. The Prince Charles stamps were the greater investment, and being a child of very limited means, I had very few. We were encouraged to buy them at school, on a weekly basis I think. Not a good investment as far I was concerned as I never completed a book and therefore never cashed them in.

So it does feel strange to hear Charles called King; to think that someone who has been a distant constant is no more. Not that change is likely to be felt in a rush. There will be pomp and circumstance, a lying-in-state at Westminster Hall which I may well attend, a funeral at Westminster Abbey, a place for which I have great affection, and affection for the staff there, and know very well.

If I had had to see both Johnson and Truss on the same day I should have had to lie down under a damp tea towel for several days, if not for ever. It seems extremely unfair that ERII in the last hours of her life should have had to undergo this trial, to be with these two chancers who with their lies and ineptitude have reduced the UK to its current state. I just hope she had a good evening afterwards and told the corgis, who will of course never betray her, exactly what she thought of them.

Rest in peace Elizabeth II. You are a hard act to follow, and please don’t take it badly when I say I hope you will be one of the last monarchs of these islands.


8 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 8th September 2022; The Queen is Dead

  1. What a breath of fresh air to read such an articulate and fair-minded piece, free of all the sycophancy due to be served up in tomorrow’s red tops. Well done Isobel!

    • Work took me to both the City and Westminster today. The mood in the City was sombre, the atmosphere subdued. It was pretty quiet. A cordon pf City Police offers surrounded St Paul’s. In Westminster lots of people were milling around. Out of curiosity we went onto the Mall where there we watched a phalanx of Met Police officers line up then walk towards Buckingham Palace, stopping in the road outside Lancaster House. A short while later they began clearing the people who thronged the road. There were people carrying flowers, people posing for photographs in front of the gates, some people beaming into cameras. A police helicopter buzzed above us. It all felt very odd. Charles, the king as one police officer said – that sounds so very strange to my ears – was in the palace so the royal standard flew, but not at half mast.The world’s press were accommodated in little marquees by the gardens between the palace and Green Park. It has been a strange day.

  2. I do believe everyone on this side of the pond admired your queen, except probably Trump. I remember seeing news reels and magazine articles of her coronation. I was a young child at the time and was touched. She seemed a tad overwhelmed by the whole affair.

    • She always seemed a decent woman, and successive Prime Ministers have appreciated her listening ear, her sharing of the wealth of knowledge she had acquired about other countries during her reign. My favourite story about her is one told by Gordon Brown which I heard some years ago when I went to hear him interviewed by Jonathan Freedland. Normally when someone spoke to her they called her Your Majesty, then after that Ma’am. Nelson Mandela, also royalty, dispensed with such fripperies. ‘Elizabeth,’ he used to greet her on their telephone calls, “how’s the duke?’ They got on like a house on fire.

  3. I’m no fan of monarchy but I am missing Queen Elizabeth’s presence in our world, in my own life.
    I am sorry and sad.
    Thank you for sharing your ones day after another one your activities and your thoughts and opinions!

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