Monday, September 19, 2022

(Queen Invisible)

 I've been following the death of the Queen fairly closely, somewhat to my own surprise.  I shouldn't have been. I'm a historian with an interest in the celebration of power..I have been fascinated by the efforts of commentators to put Elizabeth in historical perspective.  And what have they been saying?

Next to nothing!

Well, more specifically (my own summary, not entirely fair):

  • Elizabeth was the longest reigning monarch ever 
  • None of us can remember when she wasn't Queen (actually an interesting point)
  • She was Head of the world-wide Commonwealth (which people aren't entirely unhappy with)

What struck me first was the total absence of comparisons to (Queen Invisible).(Queen Invisible) is such an obvious comparison point. 
  • She sat on the same throne as Elizabeth did.  
  •  Her reign was very close to being as long as Elizabeth's. 
  •  She was also head of a world-wide organization, though it had a different name 
I only have only heard one commentator refer to the most obvious point:  If you bundle the last few years of her father's reign with Elizabeth's, you see the disappearance of the (world wide organization which (Queen Invisible) was head of , which we will not name.)

Now I can see that in the celebration of  a monarch's life you might not want to discuss at length such an embarrassing  fact.  But the complete disappearance of (Queen Invisible)'s very name! A woman whose very name is stamped on every continent, on islands, waterfalls, provinces, major cities, and country crossroads.  (Queen Invisible) is gone because she is a background for everything.

A whole era was named after (Queen Invisible) in recognition of her symbolic place in world culture.  Will there be a Second Elizabethan era? a Carolean era? Ah, here I may surprise you by plumping for EII.  People my age woke up one day (1973) to find that  the clunky old furniture that their parents hid in the attic were now valuable antiques.  Other things were already named after (Queen Invisible), who receded farther into the past. needed a symbol for the new historical awareness they gained.  Elizabeth filled the bill. She was after all old enough to be an historical figure based on the idealized Great-Grandmother. In the near term, this excludes the more controversial public record of  Elizabeth as an institution.  

Image:  Who is this woman? 









 




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