One time as a little tyke I climbed on top of the washing machine in our laundry room and snooped in the cupboards above it. On one of the shelves under a bunch of rags I found an old copy of a Life Magazine. The cover was a photo of a pretty woman wearing a crown.
I thought she looked a little like Snow White.
[Note: The real-life model the Disney animators used to draw the original Snow White character (for the 1937 movie) lived across the street from my aunt and uncle in the San Fernando Valley. Also as a little tyke, I sometimes hung out in the front yard so I could catch a glimpse of the “Snow White lady.” I never saw her up close to verify the resemblance. I was too shy to walk across the street and get a good look. Had it been the Alice in Wonderland model, I might have sneaked over and peeked in her windows!]
I showed my mom the magazine and asked her who the woman was.
“She’s the Queen of England.”
Not sure of who or what that was. “Do you know her?”
Long pause. “Yes.”
Later to be translated: “I wish I knew her.”
That was the end of my interest in the British Royals. As I grew up, I thought they were anachronisms—an irrelevant tradition whose history had run its course. Thank God America gave them the boot — those pompous tea-drinking castle dwellers! Or, as the Scottish character Mark ‘Rent-Boy’ Renton says about the British in the hilarious movie Trainspotting: “Some hate the English. I don’t. They’re just wankers. We, on the other hand, were colonized by wankers. Can’t even find a decent culture to be colonized by. We’re ruled by effete a-holes.”
As I paid attention to Lady Di/Princess Diana, a world-class fashion icon, I began to notice the Queen wasn’t the frump I thought she was. I realized I liked her style, too. Say what you will about Queen Elizabeth’s outfits, at least they aren’t boring!
And from someone who has 200+ vintage hats, I appreciate the Queen’s dedication to an elegant accessory of days gone by.
This week I’ve been watching England celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Anniversary to commemorate her 60 years as a reigning monarch. The Brits know how to throw a party!
Jolly good show, Ma’am! If I lived closer to Great Britain, I’d be reveling with the masses.
The Queen is more than a royal figurehead for her subjects. She is the embodiment of the British spirit—its stability in a changing world—its comfort in troubling times. Her strength of resolve during World War II, her dedication to her position, and her life-long service make her an admirable person—and a well-loved one, too.
I like the tradition. I like the pomp and circumstance. I like the whole gang in the House of Windsor.
I bought a souvenir teabag holder to use while drinking English Breakfast tea, watching the festivities, and toasting the Queen with the rest of the world. (And one for my fabulous friend Diane who is also a Royal Watcher!)
To Queen Elizabeth: Keep up the good work. Keep wearing those hats! CHEERS.
Not to take any grandeur away from the Queen, but I was also watching:
Looks like British royalty will continue in good company — and good style. (Princess Diana would be so proud.)