The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

A WOMAN WELL On Septem­ber 9, the Queen will be­come the long­est-reign­ing monarch in Bri­tish history, break­ing Queen Vic­to­ria’s 63 years and seven months record. We take a look at her decades on the throne.


De­spite re­ports of an Is­lamic State plot to blow her up, no one doubted that the Queen would show up at a me­mo­rial ser­vice in cen­tral Lon­don this month to mark the 70th an­niver­sary of vic­tory over Ja­pan in World War II. Stoic and un­flinch­ing, Her Majesty ad­mirably em­bod­ies the no­tions of duty, hon­our and sac­ri­fice from a by­gone era.

Now aged in her 90th year, she will be­come the long­est-serv­ing Bri­tish monarch in history next month, and no King or Queen has served her sub­jects more loy­ally.

Even through the hu­mil­i­at­ing public soap op­eras of her chil­dren’s chaotic mar­riages, her “an­nus hor­ri­bilis”, and the tragedy of her trou­bled daugh­ter-in-law Diana’s death in a Paris car crash, the Queen has main­tained the dig­nity of the crown, and the stiff up­per lip of the Blitz.

Born in 1926, she rep­re­sents a gen­er­a­tion which shaped our world for the bet­ter. While ev­ery­thing else has changed be­yond recog­ni­tion, she re­mains the one con­stant.

And, af­ter 63 years on the throne, Queen El­iz­a­beth II shows no sign of want­ing to ab­di­cate, which is just as well for the fu­ture of the monar­chy, and an on­go­ing heartache for Aus­tralia’s repub­li­cans.

She has said the job is for life and, more than any­one, she knows the flaws of the pu­ta­tive heir, her self-cen­tred eldest son Charles, 66, and the rea­sons for his rel­a­tive un­pop­u­lar­ity, es­pe­cially in far-flung reaches of the Com­mon­wealth.

At the time of the con­sti­tu­tional con­ven­tion 17 years ago, the af­fec­tion which most Aus­tralians have for the Queen kept repub­li­can wolves from the door. Charles, on the other hand, would be far eas­ier to cast aside than ei­ther his mother or his son, Wil­liam, 33.

Of course the monar­chy is more than the per­son who sits on the throne, but in this era of per­son­al­ity pol­i­tics, Charles’ inse­cu­ri­ties and wretched be­tray­als of his late wife Diana make him dif­fi­cult to em­brace.

The Queen on the other hand, while ap­pear­ing cold and re­mote, has been on the throne so long that her very lack of vis­i­ble emo­tion has be­come an as­set. De­spite a life­time of con­stant scru­tiny, she re­mains enig­matic and un­know­able.

No op­por­tu­nity there for con­tempt born of over fa­mil­iar­ity. In­stead, she en­gen­ders af­fec­tion and re­spect.

Strangely, a word to de­scribe her is un­pre­ten­tious. The Queen ap­pears more at home in a drab scarf walk­ing her cor­gis in the rain than wear­ing a tiara at a state din­ner. Even when she meets Aus­tralian jour­nal­ists, she is down to earth and hu­mor­ous.

An avid horse-breeder, she’s also quite tech savvy, as we learn in a new bi­og­ra­phy by In­grid Se­ward, hav­ing be­come a pro­fi­cient in­ter­net surfer, with her own Black Berry smart­phone and an iPad.

A work­ing mother be­fore it was fash­ion­able, she is known for her un­wa­ver­ing Chris­tian faith, punc­tu­al­ity, or­der­li­ness and work ethic. She re­port­edly has ac­knowl­edged that she should have spent more time with Charles when he was an emo­tion­ally needy child, in­stead of del­e­gat­ing his up­bring­ing to nan­nies and her own mother, while she worked.

Per­haps, also, he sensed there was no room in her heart for any­one but the love of her life, Prince Philip, the Duke of Ed­in­burgh.

It is through their al­most 68-year mar­riage

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