Friday, July 13, 2012

Elizabeth the Queen

A few weeks ago, Daisy made a trip to London. I was so lucky that she brought me back two souvenirs. One of them I'll be showing off on the blog later, but the other one I am showing off right now. A biography of Queen Elizabeth written by Sally Bedell Smith!
This book was wonderful! I'm not sure whether it's available on this side of the pond, but I completely recommend it. I haven't read any other biographies of Queen Elizabeth II, or any other modern monarch for that matter, so I can't compare. In any case, this book discussed both family and professional challenges and accomplishments. Watching the story of her life unfold is also a tale of modern Britain and the Commonwealth.

One of the primary themes in this book, attributed to the Queen, is her firmly held belief that she was ordained by God to serve as Queen. I think, like other people in the 21st Century, the idea of "divine rule" is somewhat outdated. The book mentions this as one of the reasons she will not abdicate the throne in favor of Charles or William prior to her death. Indeed, it sounds like her plan is that if she were to become incapacitated prior to her death, she would continue her reign, though Charles would rule as Regent.

It also seems to me that her understanding of the divine role suggests that she is a servant, rather than a master. Most surprising to me is the belief, attributed to the Queen, that she can't speak her mind on issues presently before the elected government. In fact, the book suggests that doing so would present a "constitutional" crisis. I don't know enough about British law to know whether that's true, or why. But, I've grown up in a country where our head of State - the President - is expected to take strong positions on issues of public debate. Imagine if our President did not participate in the national conversation about the most important issues of our time! Reading this book will help you think about it!

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