Monday, September 19, 2022

Farewell to Her Majesty the Queen

DEBORAH CROMBIE: We spoke a little bit about the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the time of her death (thank you, Rhys, for your lovely post.) But in the days since I've watched with awe the outpouring of grief and affection, both in the UK and around the world. For four days I livestreamed the Queue (capitalized because it became an entity in itself!), the line of those waiting to pay their respects to the Queen as she lay in state at Westminster Hall. For much of the time the queue stretched ten miles and at its longest the wait time was more than twenty-four hours!

Westminster Hall

What a spectacle! I found watching the people endlessly fascinating. There were all ages, races, and religions. People alone, families with children, even one woman with a little dog in her arms. When they reached the casket, some crossed themselves and genuflected, some bowed, some just nodded, some gave the queen a little farewell wave. My favorite was a lovely middle-aged lady who genuflected, then, as she turned away, gave the queen a little double thumbs up. I think Her Majesty would have liked that.



The Queue closed at last at 10:30 p.m. London time, so that everyone waiting could reach the end before the Lying in State ends at 6:30 a.m.



It's made me think about our need for ritual, for touchstones, and for a collective emotional response. That fact that it was her steadfastness, her dignity, and her kindness that have inspired such a response restores a bit of my faith in human nature.


I planned my second visit to England, in June of 1977, around the Queen's Silver Jubilee. I watched the procession from a balcony on the route (how I secured that spot I now have no idea!) Unfortunately, my camera malfunctioned, but the occasion  was a life marker, nonetheless. I'll be watching Her Majesty's final journey today.


What about you, dear Reds and readers? Who's getting up in the wee hours to watch the funeral and procession live?


JENN McKINLAY: I’ll be up to watch. It’s an extraordinary thing to witness the passing of such a long reigning monarch. Queen Elizabeth II witnessed so much change in her lifetime. To me she was the embodiment of the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry on.” There will never be another like her, that’s for sure. I always remember when the Hooligans, my mom, and I were in London in 2013, a charming tour guide told us all sorts of affectionate stories about the royal family and then he ended it with “I don’t know how you Americans sleep at night without the queen looking after you.” I realized he was only partially teasing and now, remembering that, I think it helps me understand how deeply the country is mourning the loss of their beloved queen. 


LUCY BURDETTE: I love that story Jenn! I admired the queen–what a job! What a life!--but have to admit, most of my royal knowledge comes from THE CROWN and THE AUDIENCE. We saw Helen Mirren in The Audience on Broadway some years ago. She played the queen interacting with each of her prime ministers in turn. She was onstage the entire time, with costume changes, aging etc in full view. It was astonishing! (You can stream it on TV now.) I won’t get up to watch the service live, but I will watch later!

HALLIE EPHRON: Like Lucy, I get my knowledge of British royalty via public and British TV. And we saw THE AUDIENCE live streamed in a movie theater.

I have wondered what is it about Charles that kept Queen Elizabeth’s behind firmly planted on the throne into her 90s, on beyond Covid… She certainly was the embodiment of grace under fire. Maybe a little royalty is what US politics needs right now? Restraint. Respect. Yes, that would be nice.


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: It would, wouldn’t it? I may not get up at 6am to catch it live, but I’ll definitely watch it. It’s a bit like being able to go back in history to 1901 and experience what it was like when Victoria - and a whole era of England and the Empire - passed away. It does make me wonder if Charles III will be another short-termed monarch like Victoria’s heir Edward VII. The latter had the second shortest reign of the past 300 years (if you don’t count the Duke of Windsor, who was acclaimed, but never crowned, and who scarpered off less than a year after he inherited the throne. BTW, while looking up that timeline I ran across this interesting titbit


“Government ministers were reluctant to send confidential documents and state papers to Fort Belvedere, because it was clear that Edward was paying little attention to them, and it was feared that Simpson and other house guests might read them, improperly or inadvertently revealing government secrets.” La plus ├ža change…  


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Is it okay that I will probably not watch this live? I am curious about the music they'll choose—or that the Queen chose. And I am curious to see everyone, of course. But I think I will be fine watching it later.


RHYS BOWEN: We got the news of the queen’s death two hours after we arrived in England. We went to Buckingham Palace to see the flower tributes and so many people just standing in silence. Unfortunately I’m now in France so I will miss seeing most of the funeral as we board a ship around that time.   I am so touched how the whole world responded. I don’t think there has ever been a woman so universally admired!


At a more suitable hour, we should all raise a glass of Dubonnet and gin to Her Majesty the Queen!



36 comments:

  1. What an extraordinary woman . . . yes, I will be up and will watch . . . May the Queen rest in peace.

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  2. I'll be working remotely, but I'll have it on.

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  3. that comment above was from me.

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  4. I am up and watching live at almost 4am local time for me. A moment in history not to be missed...

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  5. Yes, I am watching Queen Elizabeth II's funeral c/o BBC on my Roku TV. Living in Ottawa, I will also see part of the official Canadian commemoration which starts at 12:10 pm our time with a military procession to the Christ Church Cathedral ceremony at 1 pm. I will probably be able to hear the 96 gun salute from my apartment.

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    1. GRACE: You are blessed to see part of the official Canadian commemoration with a militaty procession to the cathedral ceremmony. Hope that you are wearing ear protectors with the gun salute being very loud!

      Diana

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  6. I'll watch some after the rest of the house wakes up so, later.
    She was queen my whole life and I did, do admire her.

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  7. I have been alternating watching coverage with watching movies staring the great acting Dames like Emma Thompson and Judy Dench. Will be tuning into the funeral if I can find a live broadcast now. Using PBS as my link to the UK.

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  8. I’ve been watching the funeral live since dark thirty, Julie too. Although she just now went back to bed.

    I love the British ability to put on a grand event with so little notice. All those uniforms and trumpeters and royals in their best black, all marching in step behind their Queen.

    And the music! Splendid. Especially when I heard Julie softly singing the alto line.

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  9. I have the procession on now. What incredible pageantry! What an amazing life! Truly the end of an era. I think the last state funeral was Winston Churchill's. I remember watching that with my dad--and seeing dad cry for the first time.

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  10. I caught snatches of the funeral service before and after an early AM appointment. Lovely in all ways. I especially liked what I suspect are hybrid Queen Elizabeth roses on her casket.

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    1. MARGARET: FYI, details on foliage on QEII's coffin.
      https://www.ctvnews.ca/lifestyle/the-significance-behind-the-foliage-on-queen-elizabeth-ii-s-coffin-1.6074001

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  11. No one in this Covid-ridden household was up anywhere close to 4:00 AM, so I might catch a little in news clips later.

    God rest the Queen. Long live the King.

    And I'm fascinated with how Helen Mirren pulls off aging and costume changes onstage live. Thanks for the heads up. I will make time to watch that later, too.

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  12. I have to admit I did not get up at 4 a.m. But I recorded (am still recording!) the funeral both on PBS and ABC, so I'll be catching up throughout the day. Unfortunately, I have to work, otherwise I'd watch straight through. More later on!

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    1. Debs, thank you for writing a beautiful post about the Queen's funeral.

      Diana

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  13. I've been up since 4 a.m. watching on CNN and listening on the radio. Now I am at work watching on CNN and trying (!!!) to get some work done.

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  14. Woke up with an headache at 5:45 am this morning! I think I twisted my neck in my sleep. If I had a working TV, then I would have watched the funeral on TV. Fortunately, I can get Instagram on my iPad and was able to watch clips from the royal family IG. The Queen had a good life. There are so many things I want to say, though it would be book length. She did her duty as the heiress to the throne, did her service with ATS during the Second World War and she got to marry the love of her life, even though her parents may or may not have had reservations about her marrying Prince Philip. She was loved by her husband, her children, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. I remember her kindness to Catherine Middleton and Meghan Markle and her making them feel welcomed into the family.

    When I was living in England, I visited friends in Scotland. We were blessed to see the Queen in Edinburgh many years ago.

    Thank you JRW for sharing your stories about the Queen and thank you everyone for your wonderful comments.

    Diana

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  15. I plan to catch up the events later tonight. The world is poorer for her loss. She truly was the epitome of grace and style.

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  16. Lovely that PBS is giving us the BBC broadcast!

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    1. I ended up watching the whole thing from 6:45 on, and then felt bereft when they didn't let us into the private burial. Sniff.

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  17. I watched from 6am Central time until exiting St. George’s Cathedral live. Now I need to go back to watch the beginning to where I started. My favorite part of what I watched is seeing 2 Corgis on the steps of St. George’s awaiting the Queen’s arrival.

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  18. I just went back and read Julia's comment about Edward VIII and state secrets. We can be very glad this man abdicated, because there's quite a bit of evidence that he was very cosy with the Nazis.One can only imagine what WWII would have been like, had he been the monarch.

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  19. There. 7 hours straight of pagentry and tribute and grief. All those many many people lining the route, all those participating. Ah, it was lovely. And sad. And uplifting.

    What moved me near to tears was when God Save the King was sung in the St. George Chapel, and the camera focussed on Charles, who looked close to tears himself. I could almost hear him thinking, Now they're singing it to me. I must always be worthy of it.

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    1. I've only see the photo of the corgis so far, but that was enough to undo me!

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    2. Debs, that photo was enough to undo me too! I cried on the 8th of September the minute I found out about the Queen's death. I saw her in person though I never met her. My Mom reminded me that Her Majesty had a good life. And the photo of Princess Charotte crying was another photo to undo me!

      Diana

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  20. I did not get up and watch, but I may catch on replay later.

    Yes, Hallie. We could use a little royalty in American politics these days.

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  21. No, I did not get up to watch. But I will respectfully watch replays later. Hopefully the Queen's family will get a bit of respite and rest now.

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  22. I got up at 5 Nd watched until the BBC-us went back to their regular scheduled programming. Elizabeth II was Queen before I was born, and the same age as my Mom would have been. I have English ancestry and have been an Anglophile since I can remember. I’ve been to London, and Windsor, a long time ago, and relished seeing the familiar buildings. The Queen did give her life to the service of her country, and seems to have been a wonderful person. The world won’t be the same.

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  23. We watched the Windsor service live, but recorded the rest to watch this afternoon. I teared up when they removed the crown from her presence. I wish Charles III the best, but Queen Elizabeth's strong character and solid faith will be missed.

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  24. Watched every bit of it today.

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  25. I should have posted earlier. I was certainly up earlier. I got up at 4:20 this morning (Central Time) to watch the funeral proceedings that started at 4:30. At 10:30 a.m., I realized I had been watching for six straight hours. And, then there was more. I watched until the last car left Windsor Castle after the service there. I had only gotten two hours of sleep before I got up. So, I expect to crash at some point. But, it was all so spectacular that I don't regret a little lost sleep at all. Such a huge historical moment. I almost lost it when they had the Queen's pony and her corgis on the screen. I just know those sweet animals are waiting for her to come home. Oh, and have you ever seen a drive to a house so long? It exhausted me watching that. Of course, I don't see how King Charles and Princess Royal Anne walked so much over the last few days. They are made of stern stuff for sure.

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    1. So are the people who stood in the queue for so many hours! And the people camping out overnight on the procession routes!

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    2. I agree, Debs. I'm not sure I could ask much more than three hours in a queue.

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