Queen Elizabeth II: The Only Constant in an Unstable World

She spoke rarely of her own and country’s crises in 1992, a year in which Windsor Castle caught fire on the anniversary of her wedding, three of her four children. She separated or divorced the couple and one of her daughters-law was involved in a sex scandal that was covered by the news. But it seems that a woman who is reserved and disgusted with self-pity seems to be a good fit for which she has used both. gentle satire and latin in making her point.

In a speech in London to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne, she said: “1992 is not a year that I will look back on with indelible joy. In the words of one of my more sympathetic reporters, it turned out to be an ‘Annus Horribilis.’

And the statement she made after September 11, read aloud by Britain’s ambassador to the United States during a ceremony in New York in honor of Britons lost in the attacks, remains memorable for its beauty. Its simple, painful beauty. “Nothing can be said to begin to take away the anguish and pain of these moments,” the statement said. “Grief is the price we pay for love.”

Perhaps at no point in recent years has the monarchy been in more trouble, or the position of the queen, more precarious than in the bewildering days following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales , 25 years ago. The monarchy is embedded in the British system of government and does not rely on the will of the people; the monarch may not vote in or out of office; The royal family is not subject to recall. However, it is constantly called upon to make a suitable case of its own.

After Diana’s death, the queen’s widely admired qualities, the notion that family matters are private and people don’t reveal their feelings in public, suddenly seemed to work. against her. “Show us you care!” was a typical title at the time. And so the queen broke with tradition, returned to London, ordered the flags on the top of Buckingham Palace to be lowered to half a foot and agreed to do so. rare public address with the country about something she considers very private. It is an expression of humility and an attempt to assuage a nation’s sorrows – but also a means to sustain a faltering monarchy.

She said: “It is not easy to express feelings of loss, as the initial shock is often made up of a mixture of many other emotions: distrust, not understanding, anger and concern for those left behind. . “We have all felt those emotions over the past few days. So what I tell you now, as your queen and as a grandmother, I speak from my heart. “

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