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So this is what that feels like

September 8, 2022

If you’re British you must have wondered for years what it was going to feel like when she finally laid down her burden. And now here it is.

As with watching my mother’s death, the sheer repetitive strain of her last yeas took away a lot of the grief I felt was going to wsh over me. All that is left, as with my mother, is to say thank you and goodbye.

I already see the things that I anticipated would happen. Over optimistic republicans hoping that this means finally seeing some movement towards a ‘more rational’ constitution. I think that, like the Brexiteers who assumed that the EU would collapse without Britain holding it together, they are doomed to be disappointed.

Americans are popping up, asking to have things explained to them, often extremely unlikely hypothetical situations as in KING RALPH.

At least the Internet pundits who were spreading rumours that we would never have a King Charles III ‘because it was unlucky’ are termporarily embarrased .

I am not going to watch the Prime Minister’s statement because whether she does it well or ill it’sgoing to cause me pain.

I’ve thought a fair bit about how I feel about constitutional monarchy in the years waiting for this moment. And I’ve come to the conclusion that though I rather like a neutral, religio-political figurehead as the person the people look to as someone they can revere as an embodiment of the nation I am quite opposed to hereditary monarchy.

Because what hereditary monarchy does is rather like what the citizens of Omelas do in Ursula Le Guin’s short story.

Whilst they torture a small child to ensure the continuity of their perfect city, we British gently torment a whole family, twisting them out of shape in order to ensure we will always have someone dedicated to tradition, to duty, to the best aspects of the nation. Or at least someone capable of projecting such a persona to the general populace.

It’s true they get to do this in a most luxurious prison, with all the flattery they can eat. But nonetheless it bends them out of shape. Look at the care lined face of our new King if you doubt me. There’s a man who has been sacrificed to duty from an early age.

I’d go for an elective monarchy myself, perhaps restricted to the descendants of the Electress Sophia as at present and only decide who the new monarch is when the old one is safely buried. This is a Reform Movement that I am perhaps the only member of but I mean it quite sincerely.

Oh, dear the Tories will be expressing their loyalty all over the shop and enjoying being able to mock better people than them on the opposition benches if they even just say: “Well, do we really want to be carrying on with this rigmarole?”

It’s just as well my tee-shirts are all black: I don’t have a proper suit of mourning nor even a black armband.

There will be nothing but tributes and royal history on the BBC for a while, possibly until the funeral is done. There will be a new face and voice doing the Christmas message and presumably sometime next year (COVID permitting) a coronation. The image of the Archbishop of Canterbury in mask and full episcopal fig briefly entertains me.

And so to bed, knowing at last what the death of the Queen feels like.

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