The subject now is Her Majesty

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All is quiet on Park Avenue on Memorial Day. Photo: JH.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022. Very warm with temps hitting the mid- to high-90s by early afternoon yesterday.  Although in my neck of the woods, the beautifully rich green leaves were cavorting in the breezes passing through — a taste of summer after all my belly-aching over the cool May temps.

On Friday, June 2nd, The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee — the story with the good news is — Begins over in Great Britain (or the UK as it’s so frequently referred to these days). It’s about the 70th anniversary of of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth; Her Royal Highness, the Queen.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Luke MacGregor Photography.

Meanwhile those What-to-Wear girls, Karen Klopp and Hilary Dick, are going to be there, and have chosen, as is their nature, a wardrobe to wear to the celebrations. From head to toe. They’ve also provided some notes about what everyone is going to see and experience in the program, beginning with the Trooping the Colour on the day that marks the official celebration of The Queen’s birthday.

I’ve been reading Tina Brown’s excellent book on the lady and her family — “The Palace Papers.” Her work and her writing is remarkable in much the same way her editorship of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker drew in the audience. This is the first book about them (the Queen and her family) that makes them real. Which of course, they are; just like the rest of us.

But the subject now is Her Majesty. I have never met her, although I know many who have. They always come away with a kind of bright sunny morning beginning of the day about her.

She’s real but she is the result of being well-brought up by her Mum, Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Aside from her natural intelligence, she possesses the kindness of a loved child. So the Queen Mum should of course get a little credit for this parental achievement. Although better that the Queen Mum has moved on to higher circles because it would also remind her of what it was like for her and ain’t no more.

Princess Elizabeth with her mother, Queen Elizabeth, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following the coronation of King George VI.

I’ve long believed — from my long distance observation — that Queen Elizabeth was naturally wise as a leader. I think that by her persona she is the most powerful leader on the planet today. I know that’s a big appraisal. But she is firstly a Person (man or woman) with no legal/legislative power. During her reign, many of those previously possessed powers (historically) no longer exist.

But what she has, that is hers, is the grace as a woman, as a leader, as a parent, a relative,which naturally exceeds that of most of us. Her power now is in her age. Her presence is enough to satisfy her people.

Her reign has exceeded, the previous record holder, Queen Victoria, her Great-great grandmother. Victoria was admired for her staying power but her actual physical (sight) presence was rare. She didn’t like London, for one thing; couldn’t stand the noise. Windsor was her home.

It’s home also for her great-great-granddaughter also, but it now has a quality of community that is the result of Queen Elizabeth. The family is all around. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York — always said to be the Queen’s favorite occupies Windsor Great Lodge which was previously occupied by his late grandmother, the Queen Mum.

The Queen’s great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, 1882.

My friend Joan Kingsley — an American born and bred, and a  longtime citizen of the UK — told me this whole event was going to be a lot of fun. Joan is a mature woman but her enthusiasm and excitement is pure girl. I get that that’s the atmosphere for a lot of British people right now. It’s great for all us actually. It’s not bad news! It’s the Queen that lends to this. This five-day tribute to her is a reflection of her personality and especially her presence.

My friend Harry Benson has photographed the Queen more than once. The first time was at Buckingham Palace. Harry had set up his equipment, having chosen a spot for her to occupy. He was told to wait for her to speak first.

When she entered the room she said, “Good morning,” to which Harry asked her in his inimitable frankness, and no doubt his Scottish tone, “Where’re your dogs?”

To which the Queen replied that they were nearby. That led to a conversation between Harry, who loves dogs, and the Queen who loves dogs. After which Harry took the picture. When he was finished the Queen left the room without a word, and Harry packed up his equipment to exit.

The Queen in an intimate portrait by Harry Benson.

A few minutes later, the door opened. She had returned — with her dogs to meet Harry! That portrait he took of her, to my eyes, reminds me of the conversation Harry and the Queen had about their dogs. You can see the sweet pleasure those creatures provide.

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