Forgive me, I thought I'd said my good-bye already But they won't let you leave. There is a King now, yet you still wear the crown. They have you on a schedule, running along roads and borders and leaving you to lie in state, at the front of an impossibly long line up of people. Your queue has its own Youtube site—proof I suppose, that people still desperately need to pay their respects, or perhaps just to share the last warmth of your matriarchy.
Others (not in the queue) express disdain for you and want this somewhat endless and sad celebration of life to be over; those who see you as a symbol for all that is wrong with a monarchy. It's incredible that you still wear history—all of it apparently—upon your head.
You came to the throne so incredibly young for so much responsibility. You had no choice. You took it on. You gave birth to four children. You gave counsel to, or maybe endured, fifteen British Prime Ministers. There were wars and strikes, scandals and deaths capable of crushing the strongest of leaders. You oversaw the independence of countries within your realm. You learned as you went along. And you did so with your own unique style and panache. In time, your visibility diminished under technological expansionism. Your sphere of public influence was replaced by the lives and opinions of jesters and thespians, dancers and musicians and poets. The world fell under the influence of radical socialists, mega capitalists, and occasional despots—most of whom would rather you move on.
But for the rest of us, we liked that you were always there when times got tough, when families gathered. When heroism and decency prevailed.
I grew up on a farm, on the prairies, in your commonwealth, but I don't recall ever feeling that you made my life better, or that you and your royal predecessors made better the lives of the people who lived on that land before me. In fact you were a figurehead for an empire with blood on its hands, a woman with a voice who could have said more than you did. We would have listened. Somehow, we're still listening, still hoping for a better world, though the abbey is silent.
I do admire the list of powerful women who at one time or another pushed aside, thwarted and destroyed the plots of men—a list that surely includes yourself. Today, I herald an ironic view of the monarchy. And I admit, once or twice, when young and dream-filled, I probably lay on the wild grass of some hillside, or in some wind-tousled wheat field beneath cotton clouds, and wished I was a Queen. It's a wonderful day dream—to imagine being doted upon, to have unlimited wealth, great castles, horses and dogs and people to look after all of it.
It's really only the stuff of glossy storybooks and childish lore. A wish that each of us has made in our lifetime, though few could have been so committed--above all else—to the crown. It was your promise, and you kept it.
I imagine you dreamt from time to time of having no celebrity, no history to uphold, no great responsibility, no need to seek forgiveness--to be well loved by only a few.
Shakespeare wrote: Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. I bet no future King shall ever wear it as well as you did, Elizabeth. And I'll also wager that you are ready to join history, once and for all. So go on girl, give it a toss.
Rock on, Elizabeth.