It is likely no news to you that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has died and that the former Prince of Wales is now Charles the third, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of His other Realms and Territories King, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
Why should you care? After all, we fought a war to be independent of Great Britain and over a century ago we outstripped her in most material and geopolitical categories. We gained a free empire. They lost one.
Well, we should care because the UK is the basis for our history, it is where we came from. The only place America comes from? No. But amongst the first places and perhaps still the most influential of the factors that has set the tone for this nation since its inception.
We should care just as any child cares for a parent after the natural turmoil of the child’s youth. Then the child recognizes, hopefully, the debt owed to the Mother Country for much of its way of life, values, and material prosperity.
There are even those, like myself, who wonder what would have happened if our War for Independence, it was hardly a revolution as gentlemen Whig aristocrats were replaced in power by gentlemen Whig aristocrats, had gone the other way.
Slavery would have ended earlier, no Civil War thus 600,000 more Americans around to grow the land, trade protected and supported by the Royal Navy, the American West opened up generations earlier, and a soft aristocratic system that would have replaced our essentially egalitarian nature. But then, by our cultural system we do have aristocrats. Just the wrong ones.
I’ve said for some time that we put entertainers and sports stars in the place of a hereditary aristocracy. It is a dumb substitution. The genuine aristos have to at least pretend to be noble and honorable. Our ersatz bluebloods are honored for exactly the opposite. It is an American reality devoid of grace and maturity and we are worse off for it. C.S. Lewis puts it better than I do
“Monarchy can easily be ‘debunked’, but watch the faces, mark well the accents of the debunkers. These are the men whose taproot in Eden has been cut — whom no rumor of the polyphony, the dance, can reach – men to whom pebbles laid in a row are more beautiful than an arch. Yet even if they desire mere equality they cannot reach it. Where men are forbidden to honor a king they honor millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead — even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served — deny it food and it will gobble poison.”
The recognition of that spiritual nature is why we should care, do care and why Her Majesty was wildly popular in this country. The mourning we engage in the morning after her death is also a reflection on Her Majesty herself and the duty she admirably fulfilled for seventy years.
She accomplished this mission with a devotion to service and country that many sad and shallow people would find stuffy and outmoded. But Her Majesty transcended those people. She still does.
Perhaps a friend of mine, Chana Siegel, said it best. “Over the years, I have come to value devotion, quiet hard work, and forbearance in a world that considers these virtues foolish and dreary. The Queen, may she rest in peace, was neither dreary nor foolish.”
No she wasn’t. She was a charming and beautiful young girl who ascended the throne in the flower of youth and who kept her promise of service to the United Kingdom and beyond. We, as a daughter nation, and the world at large are better places because she did.