The Queen and I

3 June 2015 Elise Moore

The Queen and I

A life goal of mine is to live to 100 and receive a letter from Queen Elizabeth II. Given she has 62 years on me, it’ll probably be William or his firstborn who will end up sending the letter. But that’s fine by me. I am approving of all the Royal Family (past and present), but none more so than Her Majesty. She simply fascinates me.

If I could meet anyone in the world, it would be the Queen. I would curtsey demurely, she’d smile approvingly and we’d enjoy English Breakfast tea, share cucumber sandwich points and have a charming chat about all things lovely. I’m told I have good manners; I think we would get along.

Until then, however, I shall admire her from afar. The closest I’ve been to royalty is inside Buckingham Palace last year. It was a very special moment in my life when I first stepped foot inside Her Majesty’s London home on a group tour. The grandeur of the royal carriages, the regal wallpaper, the wonder of the hidden doors, the precision of the lined silverware, the loveliness of the staff… I’ve never been so overwhelmed with fascination in my life. Then – laden with calendars, monarchy DVDs and royal handtowels – I was like a kid at Christmas in the gift shop.

Disappointingly, though, the Queen was unavailable for petits fours at the time, as she was holed up at her preferred residence, Windsor Castle. I’ve also visited this medieval fortress in Berkshire, because wherever there is a royal vibe, I will follow.

During the famous Changing the Guard ceremony, I found myself ignoring the beefeaters and, instead, watching the palace windows. I was convinced that if I looked long enough, Her Majesty would walk past in hot rollers. I wonder if she ever wears trackie dacks?

When my mum was 19 and waitressing in the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Victoria during the 1977 Royal Tour, the Queen smiled at my mum and her friends. I long for a similar moment.

I have Her Majesty on a bit of a pedestal and find myself getting very defensive when republicans start having a crack at her and question her relevance. I want to protect her as if she were my grandmother. My friends and family find my Queen fetish amusing. For my 18th birthday a close friend made me a faux honorary letter from the Queen, complete with a royal crest, badge and watermark. It looks legit and it is beautiful. I also have a small collection of souvenir tins commemorating the Queen’s 1953 coronation, which I have sourced from antique markets.

My royal obsession was inherited from my late grandmother, Margaret. Right up until she died, aged 94, we all thought of her as being a bit of a queen. Even though she was quite quirky, her manners were pristine, hospitality outstanding, white hair perfectly curled and you would never catch her without stockings and pearls. An enthusiastic follower of the royal family, she was a true monarchist. I admired everything about her and am glad she instilled in me a sense of respect for the tradition.

If you are a strident anti-monarchist, or are reading this while harbouring some doubts about Our Queen’s performance, perhaps you could consider putting yourself in her sensibly heeled shoes for a moment. After becoming sovereign at the age of 25 (in 1952), the Queen has guided Britain and the Commonwealth through wars and crises, overseen the transformation of the British Empire and become a respected monarch of the Commonwealth of Nations.

In between ceremonial and public relations duties, Her Majesty also heads the British Armed Forces, hosts investitures, fosters friendly relations between governments, and is the patron or president for more than 500 charities and organisations. Consistently well behaved during her 59-year reign, she fulfils her duties with a refined dignity and sense of responsibility. Not bad for an 84-year-old great-grandmother.

Her Majesty is also a source of comfort in times of uncertainty. I admire her grace and commitment to her country and the people of the Commonwealth. In her famously endearing 21st birthday speech, when still Princess, she said: “My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.” Politically neutral, she is a queen for all.

I have no qualms about being a Royal Dag. Some customs just ought to be respected. In an uncertain world, Queen Elizabeth II is a refreshing beacon of compassion, resilience and tradition.

I’ll let you know when I get my letter.

 

Elise Moore is The Big Issue’s former communications coordinator. 

 

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