At 90, Queen Elizabeth II is more than twice my real age and more than three times my pretend age. Today she opened Parliament with the kind of pomp and ceremony that has kept the British Monarchy in business. For the first time in her sixty-four years as Queen, one minor traditional concession was made to the toll ninety years has taken on her body and Her Majesty took a lift instead of the stairs to execute her Parliamentary duties.
As Queen Elizabeth II famously proclaimed, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” And she meant it, she’s in it for the long haul with the type of dedication to duty that has garnered global respect and admiration.
Queen Elizabeth II has only missed the State Opening of Parliament twice, once while pregnant with Prince Andrew in 1959 and the second time while pregnant with Prince Edward in 1963. As spectacular as it is to watch such a grand tradition as the Opening of Parliament, the Queen is a nonagenarian and it’s hard not to feel exhaustion empathy for her.
The Queen rolled up to the State Opening of Parliament in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. Coaches are uncomfortable to ride in, even the magically conjured one in Cinderella looked as smooth a ride as a Hippity Hop bouncing its way to the ball.
In a coach, every bump in the road sends a jolt through every injury you’ve ever sustained in your life. Tell me this isn’t the face of a woman wistfully longing for the smooth suspension and plush leather seats of a luxury automobile or at the very least, a pair of padded knickers.
A gilded carriage does make a statement, but so would the Queen arriving by jet pack with less of a scrambled feeling upon arrival.
Then the Queen slipped into something a little more uncomfortable, the Robe of State which weighs 15lbs and is 18 feet in length. Does a 90 year-old woman really need to be wearing ceremonial garb that footmen help carry?
Couldn’t she just wear a Snuggie? It comes in Royal Purple.
The Imperial State Crown worn by Her Majesty weighs 2.3lbs. While that may not sound terribly heavy, try putting a pair of standard 1lb ankle weights on your head. I can’t even deal with them on my ankles.
As much as I love head sparkle, maybe the Queen should pick up one of those Aros sweatshirts where the hoodie inflates into a pillow. Sometimes my head feels heavy even without a crown.
The whole State Opening of Parliament could be done much more efficiently by simply getting one of those reversible Open/Closed signs that hang from a chain. The Queen could just flip it to signal the Opening of Parliament with a generically upbeat pop song like Katy Perry’s “Roar” playing in lieu of the Queen reading a ten minute speech outlining the government’s agenda.
Considering the tradition of imprisoning the Vice-Chamberlain to ensure the monarch’s safe return from Parliament is still ceremonially observed, it’s unlikely we’ll see the Queen with a pair of sneakers peeping out from beneath one of Angela Kelly’s gowns. I marvel at all the Queen manages to do at 90.
The monarchy is long past the point the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge became full-time royals. Although even counting their physical presence at official engagements in the Court Circular seems almost pointless considering how lackluster their appearances are. At the launch of the Heads Together Campaign on Monday, Prince Harry’s presence made it even more apparent that Prince William and Kate are ill-prepared for their roles. In a speech divided between the three, Prince Harry was the only one who engaged the audience, while the delivery of his brother was flat and detached and his sister-in-law only attempted a few forgettable sentences. Other than the three donning boxing gloves for photo ops and Kate wearing a skirt Banana Republic likely won’t restock, it was hard to figure out the objective of the event which was said to work towards erasing the stigma of mental illness.
But then I spotted this photo.
That’s the kind of genuine warmth that reaches people and gives them hope.
Were it not for chance of birth order, the future of the British Monarchy would be bright. And the stoic perseverance of the Queen to continue the monarchy would make sense. I feel Prince Charles will make a good king but his reign realistically will be brief and then the British Monarchy will be left with Ignorance and Want huddling beneath the ghostly robes of history.