The bad news is, my idea for this week’s column started fizzling around 9:30 last night when Atlanta began the process of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the Super Bowl — thereby dashing the hopes of long-suffering Falcons fans and millions of other people everywhere who don’t like the Patriots very much.
For the record, count me in the latter group. I’ve never been a Falcons fan, but I rode the bandwagon for 4 hours last night.
But that’s the bad news.
The good news is that Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 65 years on the throne this week.
Yes, I had to reach across the big pond for the good news, but I found some, and I think it is worthy of mentioning.
The queen is the only British monarch ever to serve for this many years. When she was crowned, some guy named Winston Churchill was Britain’s prime minister.
I didn’t know it, but Elizabeth was never supposed to be queen in the first place. My knowledge of British royalty is about as extensive as the average American commoner, I suppose.
Here’s how it happened.
Elizabeth’s uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson, who was from the United States and had already been divorced twice.
Elizabeth’s father then became king. His name was Albert, but when he started feeling the whole Buckingham Palace crown-and-throne thing, he adopted the name George VI.
He died in 1952, and suddenly, at 25 years old Elizabeth was crowned queen.
To put some perspective on this, in 1952 the US was fighting the Korean War and 50,000 people died from polio. Harry Truman was president.
“Singing in the Rain” was released.
An article about Elizabeth from NBCNews.com summed up her longevity by saying, “Decades of duty have defined the queen. She has traveled more than a million miles, visited about 120 countries and met with 12 U.S. presidents.”
One of the reasons I find this whole story so intriguing is because of the way the queen has always presented herself. She is the personification of grace and decorum in a world lacking grace and decorum.
She has ruled, as the NBC piece put it, “65 years without publicly saying anything inappropriate.”
I hope she never gets a Twitter account.
I feel kind of sorry for Prince Charles, though, who has been heir apparent to the throne since 1952 (you know, Korea, polio, Truman, blah, blah, blah).
I’m sure he loves his mum to the ends of the earth, but you surely know he is ready for the big promotion. No 68-year-old man wants to be called prince anymore.
I feel your pain, Charles. In a past life, I had the same job title for several years, and it gets a little stale after a while.
He probably calls the queen every morning. “Hello, mum, how are you feeling today? Oh, drat. I mean, that’s wonderful. Have you smoked those cigars I gave you yet? No, I don’t want to play tennis with you again today. Let’s go get cheeseburgers instead.”
Of course, in today’s world, not even 65 years of dignified service earns you respect from everyone. One British political faction wants Elizabeth to abdicate the throne on her Sapphire Jubilee.
One British newspaper, wrote, “… having celebrated her 90th birthday last year and suffering a heavy cold over Christmas that caused her to miss church, questions are being raised as to how long she can continue in her role as head of state.”
Seriously? The old gal phones it in one Sunday in 65 years, and people want her to quit?
Hang in there until you’re 100, queen.
If things go the way they look like they’re going, you might see a Lombardi trophy or two in Atlanta.