Monday, June 4, 2012

Royal Respect

As I sat watching the Queen's Diamond Jubilee flotilla make its way down the Thames yesterday I was struck, not for the first time, by the thought that I quite like the Queen. The American part of me sometimes feels this is an inappropriate response to not just the Queen, but any royalty. I think this is one of the main reasons I lived in Canada for over 25 years before applying for my Canadian citizenship.

To obtain citizenship a candidate must take the Oath of Citizenship, in which you are required to swear loyalty and allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada. I agonized over this for years. How could I ever say such a thing and mean it? As time went on though it became clear that my life is here in this country, not the country of my birth. My children live here, most of my adult life has been spent here, and I can't ever see myself moving South of 49 again.

So a few years ago I got my citizenship. I swore allegiance to the Queen. And you know what? When I said the words I really meant them. The judge who presided over the citizenship ceremony explained that by swearing allegiance to her, it wasn't so much to her as an individual as it was to what she represents. I know he meant things like the rule of law and how we are governed, but as I watched her yesterday I thought about the other things she represents.

She has lived through many things and come out the other side with grace and dignity. She has faced everything from the Nazis dropping bombs overhead, to the challenges some of her own children and grandchildren have presented as they have lived out their lives in the public eye. I am sure there have been many days when she has wanted to just sit in her comfortable chair with a nice cup of tea rather than go out for yet another public appearance. For six decades she has served, through good times and bad, whether she wanted to or not. For me the Queen is more than our head of state. She is an example of how life should be lived.

So yesterday as people lined the banks of the Thames to catch a glimpse of this remarkable woman, I decided to have a cup of tea and a gluten-free scone to mark the occasion. As I headed to the china cabinet I knew exactly which teacup I wanted to use, one purchased by Jay's mom some 60 years ago.




I hope the weather improves for the last two days of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. I loved how the BBC announcer described the weather yesterday as "unrepentantly damp." Of all the pictures of Queen Elizabeth the Second that have come out in the past few weeks, this is my favourite. I saw this on Facebook, and one of the comments said how one Christmas when her children were small the Queen stayed up most of Christmas Eve finishing up a pair of hand knit socks as a gift for one of them. I wonder if that is true? Anyway, true or not, this picture proves that she is, indeed, a knitter. What more could one ask for in a monarch?



21 comments:

  1. She does endure, and persist, and holds fast to her duty, and I'm with you: I admire her. I wouldn't want to be her, it must be lonely and terrible at times, especially as it would be for a whiner like me. I don't have such a fancy teacup but I'll have a cup of tea for her!

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    1. I agree. I would not want to be her. I wonder if she has a close friend, someone she can confide in and share her joys and sorrows with? It seems unlikely.

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  2. A tea drinking knitter? Yes, she must be okay! =)
    I think she and my grandmother share a few traits. Taking the oath would be easier for me with her on the throne versus her eldest son.

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    1. The eldest son scenario was my other great motivator for finally getting my citizenship sooner rather than later. :-)

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  3. I don't want to be a nitpicker, Kristie, but if you moved south of 49, you would be living in Mexico. Perhaps you meant south to 49? I have a wonderful friend who has three citizenships: Ireland, Canada, and the United States. She collects citizenships like the rest of us collect skeins of yarn!

    Your teacup is lovely. The only teacup I have from the UK commemorates the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Oops!

    Mary G. in Texas

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    1. I have that Charles and Diana teacup too. It made me sad looking at it when I was reaching for my Queen teacup.

      The South of 49 refers to the 49th Parallel, not the lower States. That is why my blog is titled North of 49. I had never thought about the possibility of it having another meaning before - interesting!

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    2. Now it's me who is embarrassed. I always thought that your 49 referred to the US, since you're originally from the US. The 49th Parallel didn't enter my mind at all. My mistake altogether!

      Mary G. in Texas

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    3. It is funny how we looked at it differently. I t reminds me of those pictures that can look like two different things depending on how you view it. :-)

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  4. I am a royalist, I love them! Perhaps its having been born in a Commonwealth country where writing her a letter at the age of 6 to tell her my middle name is Elizabeth, (and getting a reply) was a cool thing to do (lol!)but I agree with all you have said. Its not a job I would want!

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    1. What a great story! Did you save the letter from her?

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  5. We were living in London in 2002 and had the privilege of meeting Her Majesty in a somewhat informal setting, in an event marking her Golden (50th) Jubilee. She chatted for a few minutes with each person present and for those few minutes, I felt her whole undivided attention was on little ol' me. We talked about the Canadian climate - what else! - she had recently been in Winnipeg and remarked on how cold and windy it had been. It was an unforgettable experience. I was and am in complete awe of her poise and dignity, not to mention her stamina!

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    1. What a neat opportunity! Were you nervous? I would have been stuttering and stammering, and my face would have gone all red. Of the two classic Canadian topics of conversation - hockey and the weather - I am not surprised by which she chose. :-)

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    2. Yes, I was nervous! We (ladies) were briefed beforehand on how to curtsy - and I did it slightly wrong - we were told not to drop the head while curtsying but really some instinct just took over and the head went down all by itself. Lightning did not strike me, however! I guess she's used to meeting uncouth colonials, ha ha.

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  6. God bless the Queen! I LOVED the Queen Mum and I love this Queen. I am an American but having crossed the pond and having stood outside her palace - I give her great honor and respect.

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    1. The Queen Mum was pretty incredible. I would love to see a story or movie about her some day. The way she was portrayed in The King's Speech made her seem like an awesome lady.

      It is fun to stand outside the palace and wonder what the Queen is doing inside. That's great that you have been able to do that so many times! Now that I have seen that knitting picture I will picture her sitting in a chair with a cup of tea and her knitting on her lap. Probably not realistic at all though! :-)

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  7. I had heard that she was a knitter from a friend. It's neat to see photographic evidence of it!

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    1. I would love to know if she still knits. I tried Googling the Queen and knitting, but didn't come up with anything.

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  8. thanks for your comment in my blog - and even though I am not a royalist in the least, I quite agree with your entry here...I read that the queen learned to be a mechanic during the war years as well! btw - your dogs are real cuties and I know very well how difficult it is to be angry at their nonsense for long:)
    best wishes from the west of ireland
    Bettina

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    1. I had heard that about her being a mechanic as well. It would be so interesting to sit down and talk with her. Of course, if I ever got the chance I would be way too nervous to say a word. :-)

      Those socks you knit are amazing!

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    1. Thanks! It is the only time I have ever used it for tea. :-)

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