The queen is gone, short live the king
By Danilo P. Padua, PhD
Queen Elizabeth II was already laid to rest, and a new king for the United Kingdom, King Charles III, was proclaimed. The queen is dead, short live the king!
Being trained in a school that does not exactly look kindly to monarchies, why on earth am I writing about a queen and a king? Well, I am fascinated with history. And the queen and the king are parts of history. And I would like to see it on the better side.
The first time I heard that Q.E. II died last Sept. 8, I tuned in to some international news agencies, particularly CNN. My intention was only to hear and soak in related news a few minutes at a time. However, every time I opened the TV set at any hour of the day, the news were always on the death of the Queen. It seems the news agencies were covering her death almost on a 24-hr basis, at least during the first few days of her death. I became curious as I heard a stream of history from various individuals from around the world.
Without any doubt, the death of Q.E. II was one of the biggest news of recent years. It eclipsed even the news reports on the Russian invasion of Ukraine!
Many Filipinos are familiar with Q.E.II and the royalty of the United Kingdom. This is not only because of the fact that U.K. colonized so many countries in Africa and Asia but also because there are so many Filipinos who are distributed throughout U.K. and other Commonwealth countries, many of such nations still recognize Q.E. II as their queen. These Filipinos naturally spread bits and pieces of stories about the queen and the royalty in general, to their relatives back here in the Philippines.
I believe the personality, the demeanor and the actions of the queen could be sources of so much lessons for all of us. This is not to say that she did not have any shortcomings, as all monarchies or dynasties for that matter, have their own dark shadows cast sometime in their heydays.
The queen is held in high regard around the world. As queen Rania of Jordan said: “Q.E. II is symbolically a queen of the world. She means something to all of us.” She has an endearing ability of remembering names-royalty or ordinary folks alike. I have heard interviews of ordinary people who happened to have met the queen, saying clearly that Q.E. II makes you feel that you are just the person that she wants to meet. This is diametrically opposed to the demeanor of many of our politicians or leaders/officials who project a sense of superiority, and even of untouchability.
Even in the arena of diplomacy she was seen as a unifying force spiced with a character of fairness, equality, and stability. Officials have recognized her unique ability for diplomacy that’s why she was often sought for her advice on this rarified field.
It’s no wonder then that Q.E. II, born 1926, ascended the throne in 1953, and died 2022 reigned for about 70 long years, 2nd longest among all monarchs in the world. Incidentally, King Bhumibol of Thailand, a similarly well-loved monarch by his countrymen, served 69 years, the 3rd longest reign of a king/queen. Because of the amazing adulation of people around the world, the queen’s death was covered extensively by international news networks.
Hers was the first U.K. state funeral after that of Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965, a good 57 years.[For those who don’t know, Churchill was hailed as the third best orator in the world of the 20th century. The other two were Gen Douglas MacArthur and Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.] They say that the funeral is the grandest in living memory; it has never been seen in any generation of humankind. Based on what I saw from the live coverages of the funeral, I fully agree with that!
When I was glued gawking at the TV set for the beautiful coverage of the queen’s death and funeral, I saw a lot of buildings that I myself visited in London way back in 1988. Thanks to my sister Nolie, our eldest, who had been a London resident for about 50 years. The panorama was so enchanting, I patted myself for having the chance to personally see the Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, the London bridge, the Tower of London, No. 10 Downing Street-all of which somehow played a part in the unfolding live spectacle of an otherwise sad event.
The question now is: “Can the newly crowned King Charles III live up to the memory of her mother Queen”? Many, as related by my sister, perceive King Charles as a weakling, and doesn’t even have a good taste-whatever that means. His partner, Queen Consort Camilla, was quoted by some London newspapers as barking to Princess Kate, the wife of Prince William who is the heir apparent to the throne, saying:” I will be the queen first before you do”. It seems that the partners are not in good psychological tune to be in the same pedestal as Q.E. II
With King Charles’ advanced age of 73, it appears that he may not live long enough to fully savor the scent of the crown he wears, including its plethora of trimmings.
Even if U.K. is far from us, let’s just pray for his better health and possible accomplishments. After all, he is a friend of the Philippines, having visited the country in 1997. I remember his other siblings like Princess Anne and Prince Andrew did the same.