This post is by Nancy Jardine.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. That combination could be the names of many girls born during the 1920s but all three in that order are the names of a fairly well know person – the current Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
She is, of course, not queen of Ireland for that is a totally separate sovereign state which is currently part of the European Union.
When Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in 1926, the Irish Free State—sometimes named Southern Ireland— had been of British ‘Dominion status’ since 1922. That Dominion status remained for the Irish Free State till its status changed in 1937 when it became Ireland, though it was not officially declared a Republic till 1949 after the Republic of Ireland Act was passed. After the act, the British Monarchy no longer played a statutory role on most of the island of Ireland (except in the small northern part of the island retained in the UK)
I don’t know exactly how Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (by then the heir presumptive to the British throne) would have felt about Ireland no longer being part of Britain/ British Empire but it might have been just one less place to pay a State Visit to. Elizabeth was married to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947. She had her first child in 1948 but before those events she had been used to accompanying her father, King George VI, on State Visits.
By 1949, many things had been drastically changing for everyone across the United Kingdom. The aftermath of the Second World War was still being felt. Rationing of supplies was still in force; reconstruction of bombed out buildings was taking shape slowly and new house building was changing the look of many of Britain’s large cities. The National Health Service had been gradually introduced through the Westminster Parliament after WWII which was bringing many benefits to the people of the UK, especially the poor, which included my own family. Other welfare reforms had taken place which was generally improving the lot of many of the poorest in British society.
Skip on to February 6th 1952 and Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was no longer a Princess of the realm because she had accessed to the throne on the death of her father, George VI. She was the brand new Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It took a few more weeks (9th April 1952) for her to officially name her Royal household as The House of Windsor.
I don’t remember any of those weeks since I was born mid March of 1952 but it does mean that the present Queen of the UK has been a queen for all of my life. She has just had her Sapphire Jubilee as queen which probably means that I should get some lovely sapphires as well on my next birthday – I can’t wait! I adore that shade of blue. As you can see above, I’ve even got a top that would do very nicely.
On a more serious note, I can not be termed a monarchist. I eagerly await the time soon when Scotland becomes a separate sovereign state and have been hoping for this for most of my life. If the queen is retained as a titular head of state I won’t be fussed, just so long as there is that separation that the sovereign state of Ireland has had for decades and where the Scottish Parliament makes all of our decisions.
Unfortunately, many of those Welfare reforms which became established during the Queen’s early years as monarch are being systematically eroded. My Scottish Parliament is desperately keen to ensure our Scottish Health Service survives (without becoming totally privatised and mismanaged through edicts from Westminster). The Scottish Parliament desperately wants all of the other welfare improvements they have put in place in Scotland to continue to be in situ (FREE health care, FREE university tuition, FREE bus transport in Scotland for people over the age of 60, etc) but the political situation of domination by the Westminster UK parliament means this is ‘very hot potato’. The issue over the ‘Brexit’ – as in the exit of ‘Britain’ from the European Union might just be the catalyst that really does make that separation become a reality since Scotland has overwhelmingly voted in the recent EU Referendum (2016) to remain part of the Europe Union of States. Scotland has benefitted greatly from being an EU member and needs the existing close association with European countries to thrive and prosper.
Queen Elizabeth II has weathered through many situations where parts of what had been her British Empire have gone their own way. That trend continues.
During all of those 65 years of being Queen Elizabeth II she has been very, very busy with State visits, banquets, speeches and the like but I would never ever want to do her ‘job’. I like giving my author talks and presentations. I love eating fantastic food. And I love visiting new countries and revisiting old favourites but I have never ever envied the queen her ‘duties’ or her lifestyle.
65 years is a long time…
What would you like if you were celebrating a 65th anniversary?
Enjoy the rest of your week!
Nancy Jardine writes Historical Romantic Adventure; Contemporary Romantic Mystery & Teen Time Travel Historical Adventure. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association; the Scottish Association of Writers and the Federations of Writers Scotland,
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