I’ll get off the fence

Queen Elizabeth II, in a black mourning outfit, waving as she returns to Clarence House in London the day after she became Queen. Princess Elizabeth, then just 25, was thousands of miles away in Kenya when her father King George VI died.


Inevitably, I suppose, some hacks are getting carried away by Elizabeth II’s victory in the Long Reign Stakes, by a short Head of State. (That is a horse racing analogy, btw, not a comment on her physical stature.

And equally as inevitably, some are attributing to her such qualities and successes as myth and legend are made of, while the trusty lefties are complaining that she has achieved nothing at all, compared with Victoria, Empress of India, lover of North Britain.

Comparisons are odorous, of course, and it might be more informative to ask what akshull influence, de facto et de iure, the two monarchs could wield during their tenure. The Privy Council (no, children it is not a chance meeting in the gents) is all very well but is the Queen’s presence any more than a sop to constitutional rules?

Well, on this portentous occasion I am taking the advice of my Zimbabwean correspondent and plumping (yes plumping) for one side of the debate. Given their ancestral similarities the two Queeens cannot be said to hail from entirely different stables. (Cue here for excruciating puns on sires, dams and studs.) But even though ERII has had all the weight of the Old Establishment tugging on her reins, she has succeeded in modernising the old firm – which VR would, I suspect, never even have considered necessary in her small world of European monarchs. In fact we can probably thank her for allowing the PoW so much leeway in expressing his views; for giving us the princess Royal and putting up with the other two.

Thank goodness no modern British monarch can personally cause the same mayhem as Henry VIII. But this filly has been a winner at pretty long odds.

Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

15 thoughts on “I’ll get off the fence”

  1. Well done, Janus. Dontcha feel good about yourself now? You have taken a stand. Whoo hoo!

    I think Christopher is right. Victoria oversaw the inevitable rise of the British Empire and Elizabeth the inevitable decline. Both performed their roles well.

    If one has to choose, I would say Elizabeth wins by a nose. I think she is a happier person than Victoria was and to my way of thinking, a happy life is a good life.

    But, they were/are monarchs of their time who made the most of their long reins. Geddit?

  2. Janus: I had a perfect score.

    Sipu: I agree with your assessment. Victoria was known to have a difficult streak. Prince Albert had to save her from herself on many an occasion. After he popped his clogs she spent many years selfishly avoiding her duties. She was a remarkable woman and had a tremendous personality, but she also had serious flaws. Elizabeth II has been more consistent. Then again, we know more about Victoria as far more of her private correspondence has been made public.

  3. I do rather well on all their geography tests. That island one was a bitch, got a couple wrong!

    Victoria was a ghastly mother, all her kids were effectively emotionally crippled!

    Off to sunny Wales today. Will be a bit out of touch for a while as I am running round like a headless chicken. I have a lot of business to get through. Lawyers for lunch next Tuesday, out on the town this weekend and then all hell lets lose running up and down the UK. Will be gone for 7 weeks. So, no J, I haven’t done a runner, just literally running! god I’m too old for all this! Will try to pop in from various computers, can’t be bothered to take a laptop, too heavy.

  4. ……can’t be bothered to take a laptop, too heavy.

    Time for an iPad or better still a Samsung tablet ?

  5. Yes, Janus, I think we can say (in the manner of football commentators) that “the girl done good”.

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