When I was a freshman at the College of William and Mary in the fall of 1957, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip visited the college. W & M was one of two colleges in the US that had been granted a royal charter (W & M in 1693 and its charter was still in effect) so it was a State visit. The Queen addressed the faculty and students from a balcony of the Wren building. (designed by architect Sir Christopher Wren). Here is a not-so-good photo that I took that day.
The Queen was certainly a gracious and steadfast royal to have on the throne for so long. Her many decades of steady leadership along with consistent kindness and generosity to all peoples of the UK regardless of class and standing is a testament to her basic nature and good will.
That said, she could have given up the throne a few years earlier and handed it over to Charles. She may have thought he was not very fit to be King with the various scandals and such, but he's a much more qualified King than many that have been on the throne if you go back a few hundred years. I just hope Charles gets a few good years to show what he can do before it's handed over to William. He'll do just fine.
All this coverage of the Queen's life has given me some time to ponder the political impact of the Monarchy. Do those of you that are citizens of the UK think that the stability that the Queen and, by extension the Monarchy, has added to the political world moderated what otherwise might have been similar extremes that we have seen lately in the US.
Might we have been better off as a member of the UK. I know that might be a bridge too far considering all the history in the last 250 odd years. But that aside, I have to wonder, the crown seems to have had quite an impact on the UK, and from where I sit it seems to have served to remind the political class over there of their duty to country. At least more than otherwise. That has to have been a good thing all in all.
In any case, the world could use a few more Elizabeths. I think Charles will do a good and well remembers duty. The time he has spent watching his mother can only have been a great example. God bless her and her country. All my sympathy to her people, my cousins across the globe.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do it properly. As a nation formed of many cultures over a long and mixed history that form its character and values... that was a very fitting send off for a Queen who highly valued the historic traditions yet led it forward too.
I'm proud to be British today, there's no shame in appreciating the qualities of your home nation. The discipline, composure and incredible pageantry that the Queen always signified in person is simply unmatched anywhere in the world.
A very sad day but gratifying to see the incredible respect shown to likely the greatest Monarch in history.