At 3 30 pm on Thursday, I felt unsettled. I wasn’t sure why so 20 minutes later I went for a walk. I returned and still feeling unsettled after 50 minutes I went for another walk. Couldn't quite figure out what was up.
On my second return, I was told, “The Queen had died”. Later I wondered whether my body has sensed the change that was occurring. We all share consciousness which could mean we feel a change occurring elsewhere.
Yesterday a friend sent me a message asking, “Are you sad Gordon?”
“… can't say I am feeling sad. The Queen has been a symbol throughout my life. I say symbol as I never knew her personally. At one time in my youth I was very passionate about the symbol but as time has gone on so has that passion.”
The Queen is a bit like the God notion whether you believe in either you still have to deal with the reality, that people do. And I think that was my sense that the significance of the death of the Queen (outside her personal relationships) depended on whether you believed in what she represented and to the degree to which you believe.
This seemed akin to religious belief. There are so many components,
- Do you believe in a monarchy?
- Do believe that because history cast it so it should remain so?
Who knows what I would vote if asked on the subject but right now I don’t believe in a monarchy and I don't believe that just because history cast it so it should remain so.
That said I can’t deny that the Queen, the symbol and perhaps to a lesser degree the person has shaped me. I know some may say this is not the time to raise such subjects but I would say that ‘this period of reflection’ includes all our reflections. I respect it is a time of mourning and perhaps even in this piece I am mourning.
I can’t ignore those feelings on Thursday afternoon as I can’t ignore that there seems to be a psychological effect on all of us here at least in my corner of England.
A guy said to me, “ I am sorry to hear of the passing of your Queen.” He was English. My Queen? He thought she was my Queen but not his. And that opens the question, “Who called her “Our Queen” and why and who didn’t and why?”
I think this is one of the reasons it seemed akin to a religious belief as the significance for any individual would be whether we felt part of her tribe. She was head of the aristocracy, are we part of that? She was head of the Church of England, are we part of that?
I was brought up to believe she was our Queen just as God was our God. Did that mean I was part of a body of which she was head? Again akin to the Christian notion of Jesus Christ being the head of the church. Like Jesus, she means a lot to those who believe. Like Jesus dominates Christianity she dominated the nationhood of Britain. It kind of meant if you didn't believe you were an outsider just like the guy saying, “Your Queen”.
I can understand why people remain part of religious communities even when they no longer believe. I would often show up at Jubilee parties or events to celebrate her. I wanted to be part of the ‘community gettogether’.
I accept my life has existed within a second Elizabethan era and as that page of history turns my second part of life will be within a third Carolean era and perhaps end in a sixth Williamite era.
Just as the language I speak has influenced my life so too has the monarchy whatever my personal view.
If I were to write in a book of condolence it would be:
I have lived in a world where the Queen was in some ways the roof of this earthly realm. Like a building that was built before me I came into a world in which the monarchy was established and the Queen the occupant of the role. In her passing, the world has changed. May those who knew her, be comforted as they mourn.
gordon j, Hertfordshire