A Monar­chy Mo­ment

ZOOMER Magazine - - CON­TENTS -

From the Editor Suzanne Boyd

THE QUEEN AND PRINCE PHILIP have al­ways ex­uded glam­our in the clas­sic sense of the word, but it’s been in ad­vanced old age that they’ve come to tele­graph a qual­ity even more ephemeral – an in­con­gru­ous cool. I pin­point the be­gin­ning of this to when Her Majesty ap­peare­di­navide­owith­DanielCraig­where,asJamesBond, he braved the cor­gis to pick her up at Buck­ing­ham Palace be­fore they both parachuted from a he­li­copter into the 2012 Lon­don Olympics Open­ing Cer­e­mony. The fact that this was achieved with body dou­bles and tech wiz­ardry did lit­tle to di­min­ish the al­lure that this campy wink at her own im­age brought to El­iz­a­beth II. Then there was the time in 2016 when she was Prince Harry’s mic-drop mo­ment in a video in which he and then U.S. Pres­i­dent and Mrs. Obama ex­changed some charm­ing trash talk to pro­mote the Prince’s In­vic­tus Games that year. An­other meme-able mo­ment came again, cour­tesy of the Oba­mas in 2016, when Prince Philip was pho­tographed driv­ing the first cou­ple and the Queen to lunch at Wind­sor Cas­tle with the U.S. pres­i­dent rid­ing shot­gun and the women in the back­seat. De­spite the ride be­ing only 400 yards from where Marine One had dropped the Oba­mas off, the in­ter­net col­lec­tively lost its mind, fas­ci­nated by the prospect of a then 94-year-old driv­ing the world’s most pro­tected man.

Prince Philip prefers car­riage driv­ing, but the Queen, though a pas­sion­ate horse­woman as well, has a spe­cial affin­ity for ve­hi­cles hark­ing back to the Sec­ond World War when she served as a me­chanic for the Women’s Aux­il­iary Ter­ri­to­rial Ser­vice. And she uses them for her plea­sure. At Bal­moral in 1998, she asked the late King Ab­dul­lah of Saudi Ara­bia if he would like a tour. As re­counted by Sher­ard Cow­per-Coles in his memoir Ever the Diplo­mat, the royal Land Rovers were drawn up in front of the cas­tle. “As in­structed, the [then] Crown Prince climbed into the front seat of the first Land Rover, with his in­ter­preter in the back. To his sur­prise, the Queen climbed into the driver’s seat, turned the ig­ni­tion and drove off. Women are not – yet – al­lowed to drive in Saudi Ara­bia, and Ab­dul­lah was not used to be­ing driven by a woman, let alone a queen. His ner­vous­ness only in­creased as the Queen, an Army driver in wartime, ac­cel­er­ated the Land Rover along the nar­row Scot­tish es­tate roads, talking all the time. Through his in­ter­preter, the Crown Prince im­plored the Queen to slow down and con­cen­trate on the road ahead.” One can imag­ine she did not.

In May of this year, pho­to­graphs of the Queen driv­ing her rac­ing green Jaguar through Wind­sor Park went vi­ral. Badass – a word not of­ten used to de­scribe Her Majesty – was blogged and tweeted, and it was noted that she does not re­quire a li­cence. The alchemy of the im­age was again the wink. Here was this tiny, el­derly woman with only the blue con­fec­tion of her Sun­day hat vis­i­ble through the wind­screen, her pro­tec­tion of­fi­cer in the pas­sen­ger seat tow­er­ing above. Rather than him driv­ing her, she chose to han­dle this most Bri­tish of road­sters her­self, sig­ni­fy­ing a par­tic­u­lar type of met­tle. A get-the-job-done type. Ma’am pas­pas­tels over mil­len­nial pink anyy day.

God save the Queen. ueen.

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