The Queen is Dead; Articles From the New Yorker by Rebecca Mead and Martin Amis; Adamantine Defined; Which Heavan;  My Memory of Queen Elizabeth II; The Crown; A Photo of Woman Who Had a Conversation with the Queen

This has not exactly been a great week. I just received the news of Queen Elizabeth’s death.  Rebecca Mead of The New Yorker summarized the news simply but eloquently: “ Elizabeth, who died on September 8th at ninety-six, led a life made up of privilege and sacrifice, and even those who resented the former acknowledged the latter.”

The writing is magnificent, surely it had been prepared in anticipation. “But her persona became only more towering as her personage dwindled. By instinct, constitution, and training, the Queen knew that what was demanded of her was an almost superhuman splitting of self. She was the hereditary ornament of the nation—as impractical as the Crown Jewels, with which her coronation had been celebrated. At the same time, her modus operandi was founded on a principle not of display but of concealment. For her own self-preservation, and for the preservation of the institution that she embodied and led, it was often wise to withdraw behind a gilded curtain.” Meade ends well: “In the early weeks of the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, she spoke to the people once more. “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return,” she said. Her words provided comfort in themselves, because they were delivered with an authority that was derived not from the mystique of monarchy but from experience. She was by then not just a Queen but something more: a very old person who had lived a long time and seen a great deal, who commanded respect by the random chance of fortune but to whom respect was also granted because, having borne the weight of the crown for all those years, she had earned it.” The entire article may be found at

The August 22, 2022 edition of the New Yorker featured a book review written by Martin Amis, Queen Elizabeth and Emotions. It was originally written on May 20, 2002 in time for the Golden Jubilee, reviewing two biographies os Elizabeth II. The review began with the events following the August 31, 1997 death of Princess Diana. Forgotten details were remembered. For example this comment about the British press’ reaction. “ “Now the British newspapers, having cheerfully savaged Diana for years (right up to and including that weekend, were cheerfully at work on her black-bordered canonization. “Where is Our Queen? Where is Her Flag? Show Us You Care.” Your People Are Suffering, Speak to Us, Ma’am.”

Robert Lacey’s book on the Monarch is one reviewed by Amis. Lacey describes the Queen as being adamantine, now that is a word I do not know. Looked it up, it means unbreakable. Now I know, now you know. Dianamania was explored in Norman Cohn’s book and mentioned in Deborah Hart Stroeber and Gerald S. Strober’s book The Monarchy: An Oral Biography of Queen Elizabeth II. Stroebers spoke of the Queen’s address to her people. “So what I say to you now,” Elizabeth II made clear “as your Queen as as a grandmother, I say from my heart” It was an extraordinary performance. She gave a near-pathological populace what it wanted, while remaining true to her own self…She did not sell her integrity to the yearnings of the many. Nor did she attempt the solace of aphoristic eloquence. …One final mangled irony: Diana’s boyfriend Dodi Fayed, was an Egyptian Muslim. “To Diana and Dodi” read the inscription on one floral tribute, ‘together in heaven.” Which heaven?”
The Amis review spoke of Prince Phillip and his rather unusual (to say the least) parents. “The mental frailty of Diana Spenser has sometimes been attributed to to her unhappy childhood. Much more graphic insecurity had the opposite effect on on Phillip, investing him with a brisk, and sometimes bisque, self sufficiency. Elizabeth knew what she would be needing in a husband— a source of strength. And this was the strength that Phillip was still able to offer his grandsons, nearly sixty years later, on that Saturday in 1997. “ The review spoke of the early years of the marriage when Philip was posted to Malta: “the unrelieved exoticism of ordinary life” which was soon to end with the death of her father.  The review ends: The Royal Family is just a family, writ inordinately large. They are the glory, not the power; and it would clearly be far more grown up to do without them. But riveted mankind is hopelessly addicted the irrational with reliably disastrous results, planetwide. The monarchy allows us to take a holiday from reason; and on that holiday we do no harm”

I have a memory of the Queen. She and Prince Philip visited Edmonton, she officially opened Queen Elizabeth Park, blocks from my humble home on 118 Avenue. I was a Girl Guide and we were allowed to sit, clad in our uniforms on the Dias. I do not remember the rugged handsomeness of Prince Philip, nor the clothes of the Queen – only her skin. It reminded me of peaches and cream, never my whole life have I seen a complexion as fair as that.

I was addicted to The Crown, the Netflix production. It was amazing and riveting as I had lived during the times. It was so intimate and admiring of the difficulties encountered by the Queen throughout her life and her sheer strength in overcoming them.

I can include no selfies featuring the Queen and I. I do remember joking that London would be dressed in black bunting and people would say: “Has the Queen died?”. Enjoying great popularity at the time I said cheekily that the response would be. “No, Alexis left us, went home to Canada. Well, eventually I did but tragically the Queen did die on September 8, 2022.

I can include no selfies featuring the Queen and I. I do remember joking that London would be dressed in black bunting and people would say: “Has the Queen died?”. Enjoying great popularity at the time I said cheekily that the response would be. “No, Alexis left us, went home to Canada. Well, eventually I did but tragically the Queen did die on September 8, 2022.

This is my only ‘royal’ photograph. I was leaving London to go to Canada in 2019, was most distressed as I did not want to go but my student visa had expired. I stayed in a bed and breakfast near Heathrow that was owned by a wonderful woman who had been presented to the Queen. I cannot recall the occasion but she, a. Hairdresser, was being honored for contributions to her community. The Queen learned of her profession and said so charmingly:
The Queen: I do not know what ever I would do without my hairdresser. She is so important to me.
I loved that story, remembered it and was able to locate the photograph of the woman and her friend. They were so supportive and caring to me. I was a mess but did survive. Vancouver certainly not the city of my dreams but after living again in California and Abu Dhabi – am now so happy to be here.  It took awhile, lots of trials and tribulation but I lay on my bed, typing this memorial to the Queen who lived for 96 years.  Am apparently destined to live a long life. We shall see.

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