Visitors to my home are often surprised to see a portrait of the Queen and Prince Phillip prominently displayed. I grew up with grandparents and older relatives who observed the tradition of keeping the Queen’s picture in the house and I suppose it rubbed off on me. Given my politics and social values, people are puzzled by my attachment to the Royals. It’s worth explaining.
In elementary school, we began each day singing “God Save the Queen”. I was taught to stand and come to attention whenever that anthem plays (I still do), and the excitement I feel seeing the Queen on television is probably an outgrowth of that. Conditioned as a young person to respect Her Majesty, I feel a certain comfort just knowing she is there, maintaining the institution of the monarchy and, with it, many of the pillars of British culture. We live in a time when it is not fashionable to revere tradition – I get that. But for those of us who see its value, the Queen is its symbol, embodied – stubborn and unyielding, persevering despite changes in culture, standing for a set of values that transcend Self. The Queen, herself a servant of tradition, for me is a reminder of the importance of service and self-sacrifice. And for that example, I thank her.
Every monarch’s reign eventually ends. And on that day, the heir is summoned to the to the bedside, receives the royal ring and, with the first whispered “your majesty”, assumes all the burden of history and tradition. There is something very hopeful in that, and very human. It means that somebody is willing to devote their life to maintaining that connection to the past. It’s a good thing. It’s my culture and I’m proud to be a part of it.