I suppose that I’m among the relatively few here who can remember singing the words ‘God Save The King’. There’s a famous newsreel clip of King George VI seeing off the young Princess Elizabeth (born the same year as Marilyn Monroe) and her husband as they flew off to Kenya. It was the last time that the King would be seen by the country or his daughter. That last goodbye took place on my 5th birthday.
I suppose that we knew that this Elizabethan reign couldn’t last forever, but now that it has ended and that we’ll once again sing ‘God Save The King’, it all seems surreal.
There are other royal families, other Queens, but if anyone for the last 50 years or more said ‘The Queen’, we all knew of whom that person was talking. Elizabeth Windsor, in all her 70 years on the throne hardly put a foot wrong.
25 years ago, we had the tragic accident that ended the short life of a princess who was known as the ‘Queen of hearts’, but, in the end, it is probably Elizabeth Windsor who has earned that title from most members of the country and her beloved Commonwealth.
That said, Elizabeth Windsor was not The Queen. The Queen was a role that she played to perfection, but we learned much more about the real Elizabeth Windsor earlier this year in that famous last video with Paddington Bear.
Back around the time of the Silver Jubilee in 1978, I was invited to perform at a VERY posh party in Windsor. It was in the massive grounds of someone called Mrs. Heinz. The quests included Rex Harrison, Richard Rodgers, David Frost, Gore Vidal…the list goes on….but the guests of honour were the Windsor sisters, Elizabeth and Margaret. With no media present, they could be themselves. To the music of Monty Sunshine and his band, the Windsor sisters danced with everyone… all evening.
The main thing I remember was how much prettier The Queen was in real life – real film star looks.
15 years ago, I lost the Queen of MY heart. My mother was just a year younger, just before her 95th birthday, and she died without warning. I was a zombie for some weeks, so I know what poor now King Charles III will be going through and he has new royal duties to attend to… I don’t envy him.
Back in 1901, the country must have felt the same way. Victoria had been Queen since 1837. There was a new king…Edward VII. He turned out to be a very good one. I’m sure that Charles III will be too. So…once again let’s sing ‘God Save The King’.