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.