Ex-Pat Brit Reflects on Queen’s Passing

By Tony Moorby October 03, 2022

I know that media coverage of the British royal family has been extensive since the passing of the Queen, but as an ex-pat Brit you’d probably be surprised if I didn’t opine on the subject.

I distinctly remember being hoisted onto my dad’s shoulders as the Queen was driven past the end of our road on her way from Windsor to Westminster Abbey for her coronation in 1953. People were crowded on the sidewalks as deep as the width would allow, all waving miniature Union Jacks. 

It was an event that signaled a new era and drove post-war enthusiasm to build out of the ruins, of which there were still many, even eight years after the secession of hostilities.

The young Queen had to take on a myriad of responsibilities but it was her youth that caught the imagination of a populace that was poised to do new and better things. That embrace, as warm as it was then, followed her for seventy years with one period of cooler questioning after the demise of Diana, Princess of Wales, when the Queen projected an aloof and uncaring role while the nation mourned so openly.

It has never been the practice of the monarchy to show much emotion, even under duress. It was considered proper to show that ‘stiff upper lip’ and a ‘we’ll see this through’ mentality, whenever publicly visible. 

Even the royal family’s British accent, known as ‘received English’ or ‘received pronunciation’ was regarded as stilted and separate; the ‘rorl fairmileh’ said ‘crine’ for crown and ‘dine’ for down. The BBC was renowned worldwide for using the accent until the sixties when almost everything changed. Now newscasts, even on the BBC’s World Service, reflect every accent used in the British Isles as well as other countries around the world. English pronunciation, like American, is deserving of an article all to itself – maybe I’ll get around to that one day. Even London used to have about ten different accents (I’ve written before about Cockney Rhyming Slang) and now it’s made even richer by the worldwide melting pot of people who now call London home.

I think it’s becoming obvious that support for the monarchy was vested more in the Queen than the establishment, itself. The PR machinery they employ has done a remarkable job in the past in dodging all kinds of personal and political bullets – some more successful than others – Prince Andrew, Prince Harry and even the new King have made beds (pardon the pun) they now have to lay on. The new Queen Consort (the name so aptly applies) is gaining a popularity that, a few years ago, would never have been enjoyed.

Being the same age as King Charles III, it’s hard to imagine him as anything other than the Prince of Wales and he comes across as stiff and starchy and remote.

He’s actually very intuitive in so many subjects and interests; they’re too many to list here. One worthy of mention is that he is a very accomplished watercolorist. I doubt he’ll have much time for that, going forward.

The shape of the monarchy will change dramatically with him at the helm; slimmer with less ‘hangers-on’, prior colonies and dependencies will probably desire independence going forward. References to the Empire carry all kinds of connotations these days – not all of them bad, in my view. Perhaps that’s fodder for a future essay.

Plans for the funeral were made thirty years ago between the Queen and the Earl Marshall, the Duke of Norfolk; they did a remarkable job and I was glued to the telly for the duration. The Brits do rather well when it comes to pomp and ceremony!


Last modified on Monday, 03 October 2022 16:08