Elizabeth II Eclipses Victoria’s Reign – Long Live the Queen!

Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II

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As of just after noon today (EDT), Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning monarch in the history of Great Britain.  Sixty-three years, three months, and seven days.  Her coronation took place on 2 June 1952, in Westminster Abbey.  Her coronation was the first to be televised, and indeed has been the only coronation to have taken place there since the advent of the mass medium of television.  (The brilliant Richard Dimbleby narrated.)

When she ascended to the throne, Elizabeth was just 26 years old.  Britain’s Prime Minister was none other than Sir Winston Churchill, who had first served Elizabeth’s great-great grandmother, Victoria, who’d been born a year before the death of King George III.  America’s President was Harry Truman, eleven administrations ago.  Joseph Stalin still ruled the Soviet bloc with an iron fist.

Despite family issues that must have made her cringe, Elizabeth has been a model of dignity and decorum, with the formidable Prince Phillip by her side.  Her grandsons, William and Harry, have restored some hope that the lustre of the British Monarchy will remain intact when she is gone.

Princess Elizabeth’s pretty, smiling face was an inspiration to many during the worst of the Blitz, and in the long years of war, where she did real work serving in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service from 1942 until the end of the war.  She has been described as absolutely genuine, with a formidable intellect and a forceful personality when required.  She has seen the dissolution of the British Empire, and the reduction of a once-great nation into a bit player in world affairs. The snubs inflicted by the current occupant of the White House must be particularly sad to her, as she lived through some of the most trying times England has faced in centuries, in which the “special relationship” with her former colonies has proven most valuable.  Despite it, she has always kept her composure, her dignity, and her regal demeanor.

A recent poll showed that Elizabeth II is considered England’s greatest monarch, and her most popular.    I hope she has many more days in her reign.  Long live Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II!

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Here is the photo I allude to in the comments below.  The BBC dates the picture from December of 1936.  Absolutely remarkable countenance on a girl of just ten years of age.

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The Scottish Independence Vote

Tomorrow could see a seismic shift in the makeup of Europe. Great Britain has been relatively politically stable for some three hundred years.

Ace has a nice background on the union.

The union was an early example of the rise of the stable nation-state as we understand them today. It’s potential fracture is more evidence that our global political model may be ending, and a new one emerging.

Where in the 1700s and 1800s, we saw the conglomeration of various smaller political units into singular countries, such as the amalgamation of states into Germany and Italy, now we see a trend toward the fracture of those states. The term Balkanization comes to mind, as well as separatist movements in places such as Catalonia.

If this is the new trend, it’s a topic for strategic thought. And I haven’t seen much thought given to it.

Happy Diamond Jubilee

For four days, today through Tuesday, Elizabeth II is celebrating her 60th anniversary as Queen. We’ve already seen the celebratory flyover. Today the Queen went to the Epsom Derby. Tomorrow, she will lead up to a thousand boats in the Thames River Pageant. Monday is a huge concert and lighting of beacons across the country. Tuesday will be a service of thanksgiving and another RAF flyover.

I think the Queen is a significant part of the “special relationship” between Great Britain and the United States. She has been there through a dozen each of prime ministers and presidents. She has been there through the Korean War, the Cold War, Operation Desert Storm (Operation Granby for the U.K.), Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. Britain allowed our fighters to launch from RAF bases to bomb Libya in 1986. We share military bases on Diego Garcia and Ascension Island. We sell our best weapons to her country first (though she may not thank us for the F-35).

There have been rough spots, like our invasion of Grenada, and some friendly fire incidents in Iraq. Britain did not send troops to Vietnam, instead they had their hands full with the situation in Indonesia and Malaysia in the 1960’s. We’re currently in a rough spot, thanks to President Obama – the recent betrayal of intelligence assets, referring to the Falklands as the Maldives (oops and a snicker), and saying we don’t have a stronger ally than France. Not to mention wincingly bad gift choices and his feet up on the Resolute desk. I hope that a Romney administration can smooth ruffled feathers.

Thank you to Her Majesty’s armed forces who have stood with us in the war on Communism and the war on terror. We remember the British servicemen and women who have fought by our side and paid the ultimate price. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.

Stolen from the ONT at Ace of Spades. I like the determined look on her face.

In closing, I’d like to end with a bit of humor from my childhood. This is from a Vaughn Meador-type spoof of the Carter White House by Hans Petersen, a disk jockey from my old stomping ground of Augusta, Georgia. I was going to write the skit from memory, but even better, I found the clip on Youtube.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XADU-8ZVa0&w=420&h=315]