I was just a little girl when Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England. It was going to be on TV, and since we had one, I was able to stay home from school to watch the event. Our TV was a small screen housed in a large cabinet and it was black and white. But I didn’t care — I would see a real, live queen.
My association with title of queen was mainly from fairy tales, but this was different. She drove up in a carriage that rivaled Cinderella’s, but since the images were in black and white I had to use my imagination. She alit from the carriage wearing a cape that was very ornate and flowing. I can only imagine she must have been strong to walk with the cape.
I didn’t understand all of the ceremony since I was more interested in all the trappings. The moment came when the crown was placed on her head proclaiming her the Queen of England. It was beautiful.
The crown was the same one worn by her father and weighed about two and a half pounds. Yes, she was strong. She later said that when reading a speech while wearing the crown she had to lift the papers up to her face so the crown would not slip off.
Over the years I would learn more about the young woman I had watched become queen. She was quite a woman, wife, mother, diplomat, nature lover, fond owner of Corgi dogs and able to sustain a monarchy and family that often came under scrutiny. As with many families she had to deal with problems in her family, only it all took place in the public eye. The loss of her beloved husband was probably the hardest thing to bear as they were a true love story.
On Sept. 19, I watched her funeral on a big-screen color TV. Now I could see the beauty of the country she so loved and hear what her life as queen was like. She made history as no other woman has. I watched in wonder as her country and the world paid homage to her.
Some may not care for the monarchy and royalty, but I’m not one of them. I marvel at what she did and gave, but today she will be able to rest beside her beloved Philip.
Another page in the book of England’s history closed today, but we will continue to marvel as we learn more of the life of a remarkable woman and look to the reign of her son, King Charles III. God save the king.