Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My royal obsession leaks out

      I can’t get enough of the British Royal Family. For years and years, I have followed their every regal move as faithfully as watching a television reality show.
     The pageantry and elegance captured my attention back when Queen Elizabeth II was a new ruler and her sister, Princess Margaret, was denied marrying the love of her life in 1953 because he was divorced man. I fretted over newspaper coverage or Life magazine articles, and I was crushed to a pulp. How a princess wasn’t above the Cabinet and the Church of England dictating to her that her dream man wasn’t an appropriate choice fitting of her station in life was beyond me. Margaret was third in line to the throne, and as unfair as it struck me, the rules couldn’t be bent. As a commoner, I still could pine away for my own prince charming – he sat behind me in band — without those regal complications.

     I don’t think that I am alone, though, by the looks of all the books written on the royal family lining bookshelves. Why, just yesterday I found a new one — The Game of Crowns by Christopher Anderson — at the library. It’s about the relationships between Elizabeth, Camilla and Kate. Sorry I am throwing names at you like a royal flush. The book is well written, although I believe it is a collection of assorted information from sources not sanctioned by the family. When Queen Elizabeth dies, will a fumbling, introverted Charles have the evil Camilla as his Queen, the accuser of breaking up his marriage to Diana, or will the monarchy become irrelevant? Could the younger royals save the monarchy from extinction in the second half of the 21-century? Stay tuned. I’m reading as fast as I can.
      Since we have nothing to compare it to in our country, I think the enchanted fairytale in Britain is what I have come to adore. We see our First Family for a short few years, and that is pretty much that without the fanfare.  
     Now my brother-in-law, British by birth, claims that the taxpayer is paying for a lot of the royals traipsing around. He can’t get too excited about it all. What a curmudgeon he was while we were out in California visiting when Will and Kate got married. Men are not so into weddings claimed my husband and he stayed in bed, too. I watched in the middle of the night (PST) all by myself wrapped in a Made in The British Isles coverlet and nibbling on English tea biscuits.  

     Last year for my birthday I gave myself a year’s subscription to Majesty magazine. Most of the pictures and news I already knew, and I guess I was hoping for more. Still, I keep the issues and pass them on to a friend, an admirer in all things royalty.
     I’ve been to London and each time I gawk at the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace hoping I am lucky and get a glimpse of a royal face through the window of a black limousine racing past.
      My mother visited my sister – she was living in England at the time – and they stood on the streets of London in 1981 waving to the royal carriage carrying newlyweds Diana and Charles.  My petit mother claimed that she saw Diana’s famous wave even though she was knee deep in the crowd towering above her. She brought home all sorts of memorabilia  - tea mugs, towels – embroidered with the date and official wedding picture. They are somewhere in my attic, and I suppose to a collector, I might have a commemorative selection of value.
     I binge watched the Netflix series, The Crown – it is historically accurate – and I admire how a young Queen Elizabeth worked with Winston Churchill to gain her footing as a ruler. I highly recommend the series.
     Look at the Queen today as an active 90-year old monarch and her emphasis on the work ethic. She has encouraged the younger members of the firm to step up to public obligations.

      Who doesn’t remember where he was when the news of Diana’s death came in 1997? That Sunday morning a group of us were tailgating at a Bills game – we had parked our RV’s there overnight – and it was a topic for conversation. Fortunately, rooting for the Bills displaced my sadness, and I do think it was a time when they were making a respectable showing the year after the end of the Jim Kelly era. Things were much rosier for the team and the fans…well, the fans always support Buffalo’s pride and joy.
     After Diana died, the world took on her boys, William and Harry, like their own, and how we have observed them grow into manhood. The most watched television program from the BBC was the wedding of Kate to William, and closely following was the birth of two adorable rosy-cheeked children.

      Along with the rest of the world, my eyes are on Harry, and if he will get engaged to Meghan Markle this year.  She appears to have a lot of strikes against her as suitable for a royal – American divorcee, biracial, movie star – but the crown has become much more lenient in the last few decades. I’ll rely on Twitter to break the news.
     In the meantime, let’s have a cup of Earl Gray English morning tea. I’m staying calm and carrying on my obsession amidst a reality check from time to time with our country’s ongoing experiment with freedom.