Monday, February 7, 2011
February 6, 2011
On this day in 1952, Britain's King George VI died in his sleep. His daughter, aged 25, became Queen Elizabeth II. She's had the job now for fifty-nine years.
It's an unusual job. British monarchs reign--that is, they serve as the symbolic heads of the government. They do not rule--that is, actually govern. Parliaments led by prime ministers do that. Still, what a peek at history she's had. Prime ministers consult with her regularly; it's required. They probably don't pay much attention to what she says, but she's been around so long she might actually have some useful thoughts to share with them.
And imagine--she actually met, got to know Winston Churchill, Clement Atlee, Harold Macmilllan and all the rest of them. Pretty good sources if you're studying postwar European history. She's met most of our presidents, starting with Dwight Eisenhower. We've had eleven during her reign, if my arithmetic is right.
Wouldn't it be fun to sit down with her and hear her reminisce about them! Oh, well, not much chance of that. Still, best wishes, ma'am. Long may you reign.