Being British, bought up English, HM QE2 was an unavoidable part of my life. She was like a lightbulb in the spare room that would never be switched off. For many Brits, including me, for many people of other nationalities, she was head of state when I was born, she has been a constant presence in our lives. Now that’s over, and it’s sad, and we’ll mourn in our own small ways, but we’ll move on. It’s a reminder that nothing is forever.

anarchist flag flying half mast

Of course, not living in the UK means I don’t have to live with an insane local overreaction and loud forelock pulling of the arse–language media, thank God. This means I actually have the space to respond to the sad news, rather than hiding from the awful opionated eagerness of the puddlehoppers.

I’m not a monarchist*, but she was a pretty good monarch. There are many worse, there have been many far far worse. No President that I know had her calm presence, except perhaps President Higgins. She may have equals as monarchs, such as the Grand Duke (my gracious host), but it was her domain that stood her out.

I would normally allow myself a few hours of sadness, & a small mourning over the next few days, but I’d otherwise get on with life. Elsewhen, I’d wear a black armband, but now it’d invite comment. Mourning, even for a public figure, is a private thing.

An irony is that many of those I know who were bought up in republics, such as my wife, seem fascinated by the monarchy. I’ve had occasional American friends contact me. The most ardent monarchist I ever met, or maybe just the most vocal, played a senior role in the American Republican party. It does seem odd to me that so many of those born republicans are fascinated with monarchs, or maybe just this monarch. Perhaps it’s because, just as god is the personalisation of experience, so a monarch is the personalisation of state.

Now I need a cup of tea.

* If nothing else, I consider monarchy to be abuse of a child, in that at least one child of a monarch has no choice over the direction of his/her life. I really don’t think the wealth and privilege is compensation for the loss of freedom and a planet of duty.