Condolences to the British

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Yes, it does feel odd to be so moved by the death of a stranger. I'm in England at the mo' (I don't live in England) at my dad's flat. He passed away a couple of weeks ago and I'm here sorting out his stuff, just me and all his things. He was in the army for a long time. I've had the news on all day, and just as the Queen's death was announced I was taking a photo down off the wall. It's a group photo, about a hundred soldiers, taken in 1983, outside a regimental warrant officers and sergeants' mess. In the middle of the seated front row is the Queen, and one back and seven along is my dad standing smartly to attention.

Holding that photo as her death was announced is not something I'm going to forget in a hurry.
 
It's a weird feeling. I'm no fan of the monarchy, though she's been there in the background since my mum was a small child. It feels weird to have no Queen.
I agree. No fan of the monarchy, but she was by all accounts a decent woman. Like some sort of beloved national granny always around in the granny flat upstairs.
 
I agree. No fan of the monarchy, but she was by all accounts a decent woman. Like some sort of beloved national granny always around in the granny flat upstairs.
Decent to humans.

Am curious to see how Charles Windsor gets on. In the 80s and 90s, the newspapers were full of bitching and sneering about him. The same journalists are going to have to treat the new king with respect.
 
Charles may take a new name as King. King Charles does have .... mixed historical connotations. He's always been a far more conservation and climate change aware figure than anyone that's been PM. Will he take a stand against billionaire forces outside his mother's view of a constitutional monarch? A lot of his ideas about agriculture and conservation have been sound. He's made his organic methods at Highgrove work. He could have learned from Diana. His subjects need someone to represent them against big business and what Thatcherism has evolved into. I'm rooting for him to gamble that people want a bit more from the monarchy than photo ops in pretty clothes and gilded carriages. He has to reshape the brand for it to survive. I think he is savvy enough to understand that.

The Queen encapsulated so much of what was good about the western world, while being the symbol of colonialism. Without her I'm not sure the centre can hold. The world mourns our tipping point. Her death will be the moment history looks back and says that's where the old world ended.
 
Decent to humans.

Am curious to see how Charles Windsor gets on. In the 80s and 90s, the newspapers were full of bitching and sneering about him. The same journalists are going to have to treat the new king with respect.
Are they?
I doubt many of those journalists are still working that beat. God, I hope not. Both because you work your way up to the Royals beat, which usually takesuntil you're, what 28 to 30. 1980 was 42 years ago, Diana's death was 25 years ago. And you also work your way off of a beat, to something, honestly, more meaningful.
Anyone who was on the Royals beat at 30 and still at it at 55-73, is almost certainly bitter as hell and absolutely loaded with snark for the new King Charles. That he's now king will be a form of torture to folks who already will view their daily lives as wasted.
 
Charles may take a new name as King. King Charles does have .... mixed historical connotations. He's always been a far more conservation and climate change aware figure than anyone that's been PM. Will he take a stand against billionaire forces outside his mother's view of a constitutional monarch? A lot of his ideas about agriculture and conservation have been sound. He's made his organic methods at Highgrove work. He could have learned from Diana. His subjects need someone to represent them against big business and what Thatcherism has evolved into. I'm rooting for him to gamble that people want a bit more from the monarchy than photo ops in pretty clothes and gilded carriages. He has to reshape the brand for it to survive. I think he is savvy enough to understand that.

The Queen encapsulated so much of what was good about the western world, while being the symbol of colonialism. Without her I'm not sure the centre can hold. The world mourns our tipping point. Her death will be the moment history looks back and says that's where the old world ended.
I'm not a monarchist, but I have always had a great deal of respect for Charles. Not least because he champions causes like environmentalism, alternative medicine, and architecture that I happen to like, but also his ecumenical work and involvement in the School of Traditional Crafts. I liked how he did a walkabout in front of Buck House, rather than zooming straight in (and I wondered whether he had learned something from Diana after all). Now I read he's planning to streamline the royals. Well, good on him.
 
I'm not a monarchist, but I have always had a great deal of respect for Charles. Not least because he champions causes like environmentalism, alternative medicine, and architecture that I happen to like, but also his ecumenical work and involvement in the School of Traditional Crafts. I liked how he did a walkabout in front of Buck House, rather than zooming straight in (and I wondered whether he had learned something from Diana after all). Now I read he's planning to streamline the royals. Well, good on him.
I think they all learned a lot from Diana and she learned from Charles. Would she have ended up the woman she was without his causes, his serious side? What a story of two people who just couldn't love each other the way they needed. It's like a road movie of two people chained together who can't bond and end up enemies trying to kill each other instead of friends.
 
I think they all learned a lot from Diana and she learned from Charles. Would she have ended up the woman she was without his causes, his serious side? What a story of two people who just couldn't love each other the way they needed. It's like a road movie of two people chained together who can't bond and end up enemies trying to kill each other instead of friends.
Lovely what you said but for us Yanks, could you elucidate?
 
Are they?
I doubt many of those journalists are still working that beat. God, I hope not. Both because you work your way up to the Royals beat, which usually takesuntil you're, what 28 to 30. 1980 was 42 years ago, Diana's death was 25 years ago. And you also work your way off of a beat, to something, honestly, more meaningful.
Anyone who was on the Royals beat at 30 and still at it at 55-73, is almost certainly bitter as hell and absolutely loaded with snark for the new King Charles. That he's now king will be a form of torture to folks who already will view their daily lives as wasted.
Brillant post, but for those of us without your insights, please elaborate.
 
Lovely what you said but for us Yanks, could you elucidate?
I would suggest you watch The Crown. I think it's on US Netflix. It is brilliant. Or an old movie, The Queen, about Diana's funeral. Or Vanity Fair has always had the best Royal gossip. Their archive is full including the first news of Prince Andrew's connections with Jefferey Epstein. Not British, but I felt contemporary with Diana, though I didn't marry so young. We moved to England the weekend of her death. When I read that both sons are now older than she was when she died-my heart went a bit grey. In a nutshell she was a lonely little girl who was raised on the fairy tale that you marry the prince and you live happily ever after. Prince Charles was a lonely odd little boy who grew up to be indulged as the Playboy of the Western World. This quote from Princess Anne encapsulates it.
'In the penultimate episode of The Crown’s fourth season, Queen Elizabeth asks her daughter, Princess Anne, to level with her about the state of the marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

Anne, in her usual clipped, blunt fashion, says the marriage has no future. She cites the age gap between the two: “Charles is older than his years and Diana is younger than hers, which makes it not an age gap but an age chasm.” Despite their similar aristocratic backgrounds, Anne says, “their personalities come from different planets.” She adds that “he doesn’t understand her, she doesn’t understand him,” and that this seems like something they are unlikely to overcome."'
 
I think this is brilliant writing. So much said in short paragraphs.
In 1972, Rick Sylvester skied off the edge of Mount Asgard in Canada in one of cinema’s most electrifying stunts. It’s the bit in The Spy Who Loved Me where Bond is chased over the edge of a cliff to his certain death. Except it turns out that Bond takes a parachute with him when he goes skiing just in case –a union jack parachute. In his brilliant book about Bond and the Beatles, Love and Let Die, John Higgs quotes the film’s writer Christopher Wood: “All over the world, instead of howling and throwing stones at the union jack, they were bursting into spontaneous applause.”

When we were working on the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, the designer Mark Tildesley came up with the notion of having Bond help the Queen use another union jack parachute to sky dive into the Olympic stadium.


Apparently, all you need to do to get people to love our flag is attach it to a national icon and drop them from a great height.

We’re going to be seeing a lot of that flag in the next few days. I don’t know how I’m going to feel about this. A flag carefully placed in the background of a cabinet minister’s Zoom room makes me think of AA Milne’s definition of a patriot as “someone who hates everything about the country apart from its flag”. (A couple of years ago, I got a letter from a senior royal, took it round to my mum so she could show off a bit to the carers who were helping her with Dad. When I asked for it back she said: “Oh, I put it in the recycling. I thought you’d already read it.” “Yeah, Mum, but…”)

However, by a twist of fortune, I’ve been involved in the creation of two of the most replayed images of the Queen. She acted in comedy sketches twice in her life. Once with James Bond and once with Michael Bond’s creation, Paddington. Both times, I was part of the writing team. I should have been by royal appointment gag writer to HM.

There was no intention for her to appear in the first one. The producer Tracey Seaward went to what she thought would be a routine meeting at the palace to ask what the Queen would be wearing so that our actress could dress like her. It was the Queen’s dresser, Angela Kelly, who said: “Oh, she wants to be in it.”

She put herself up for that moment. It’s a moment that was meant to amuse people for one night only. If she hadn’t been in it herself that is all it would have been. But the way director Danny Boyle timed that turn of the head – that great reveal, “my God, it’s really her” – means that 10 years on, it’s one of her defining moments.

Moments like this happen incrementally. Part of their power is surprise. When we are surprised, our prejudices and opinions evaporate for a moment and we’re briefly open hearted. Surprise is the nemesis of cynicism. One of the most common reactions to that moment was “I never felt patriotic before”. Maybe. Maybe you felt something like patriotism – some love for the best of this place, but didn’t know how to articulate it without condoning the worst. Maybe.

It used to be said that millions of people had dreams in which they had tea with the Queen. Even our dream life is going to have to change. Watching her have tea with Paddington will have to do instead. It’s easy to see why that was so powerful. In retrospect, it was valedictory. A woman waving a happy goodbye to her grandchildren and great grandchildren, an image of love and a happy death.


But Paddington is an evacuee, a refugee, one-time prisoner, pretty much every category of need that is mentioned in Matthew 25. Here, he is being welcomed with tea and good manners. This is a strong statement of a set of values that are not uncontested in the corridors of power. To have them exemplified so joyfully at such a moment meant something.

One of the reasons the Queen’s death feels so huge is that she was a living connection with that postwar consensus, that attempt to build a better nation and a rules-based world. A vision that is being demolished even as we plan her funeral. Ten years ago, we lived in a world of divided opinion. Now, we live in a world of divided reality.

A conspiracy theory went round that the establishment had employed Paddington’s producers Framestore and Heyday (and me and the other writers James Lamont and Jon Foster, plus Ben “Paddington” Wishaw) to create a deep fake queen. No one seemed to question the reality of the bear.

I’m writing on Friday night. It won’t be long before the mourning gives way to the furious name-calling that characterises our current political discourse. The sides in these culture wars are like custard. The harder you jump on them the more solid they become. No one changes their mind. I don’t know much but I do know that the fury is in someone’s interest and it’s not ours.

People often quote GK Chesterton’s line: “Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.” But I love these (edited) sentences that precede it: “It is not enough for a man to disapprove of Pimlico; in that case he will merely move to Chelsea. Nor is it enough for a man to approve of Pimlico; for then he will remain Pimlico, which would be awful. The only way out of it seems to be for somebody to love Pimlico… If men loved Pimlico as mothers love children, arbitrarily, because it is theirs, Pimlico might be fairer than Florence.”

The most emotional moment in that encounter with Paddington is when the bear says: “Thank you, Ma’am. For everything.” People will ask: “What everything?” Well, make your own list. But I’m thankful for the way she used the peculiar power of her archaic role to allow us to glimpse, however fleetingly, that we share something good and that we need to defend that.

Frank Cottrell-Boyce is a screenwriter and novelist
 
I would suggest you watch The Crown. I think it's on US Netflix. It is brilliant. Or an old movie, The Queen, about Diana's funeral. Or Vanity Fair has always had the best Royal gossip. Their archive is full including the first news of Prince Andrew's connections with Jefferey Epstein. Not British, but I felt contemporary with Diana, though I didn't marry so young. We moved to England the weekend of her death. When I read that both sons are now older than she was when she died-my heart went a bit grey. In a nutshell she was a lonely little girl who was raised on the fairy tale that you marry the prince and you live happily ever after. Prince Charles was a lonely odd little boy who grew up to be indulged as the Playboy of the Western World. This quote from Princess Anne encapsulates it.
'In the penultimate episode of The Crown’s fourth season, Queen Elizabeth asks her daughter, Princess Anne, to level with her about the state of the marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

Anne, in her usual clipped, blunt fashion, says the marriage has no future. She cites the age gap between the two: “Charles is older than his years and Diana is younger than hers, which makes it not an age gap but an age chasm.” Despite their similar aristocratic backgrounds, Anne says, “their personalities come from different planets.” She adds that “he doesn’t understand her, she doesn’t understand him,” and that this seems like something they are unlikely to overcome."'
Caveat. "The Crown" is a work of fiction based on the British Royal family.
 
I don't live in Canada anymore but my facebook feed is full of people posting pictures of outdated $2 bills (we don't have them anymore, we use toonie coins now) with various pictures of the Queen as she grows older. Then they ponder how the money will change now that there is a King. That'll be so weird to see, especially since he's starting the job at what, 70? He's only got a couple decades and then the money will have to change again.

I'm not a fan of the monarchy and I'm also not a huge fan of the Queen. From where I sit, she was very out of touch. She could have made life easier for Diana and she didn't. She could have intervened somewhat with the hatred towards Meghan and she chose not to. She has coddled Philip and we all know how he turned out to be. In general, not a fan. I also think there's been a bit of revisionist history going on as there always is when it comes to royals.
 
I don't live in Canada anymore but my facebook feed is full of people posting pictures of outdated $2 bills (we don't have them anymore, we use toonie coins now) with various pictures of the Queen as she grows older. Then they ponder how the money will change now that there is a King. That'll be so weird to see, especially since he's starting the job at what, 70? He's only got a couple decades and then the money will have to change again.

I'm not a fan of the monarchy and I'm also not a huge fan of the Queen. From where I sit, she was very out of touch. She could have made life easier for Diana and she didn't. She could have intervened somewhat with the hatred towards Meghan and she chose not to. She has coddled Philip and we all know how he turned out to be. In general, not a fan. I also think there's been a bit of revisionist history going on as there always is when it comes to royals.
TOTALLY agree with all of this.
 
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