Queen Elizabeth II skips Commonwealth meeting : the twilight of her reign
|Queen Elizabeth II. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons|
Her steadfast presence for over half a century has been given us that feeling that everyone is going to be alright. I may not be Briton, but each time I take a look at Queen Elizabeth II and all that she stand for, I really find it difficult to separate her continuity and the fact that her presence means that no chaos will ever stand a chance of lasting, that everything will fall back into its proper place.
But 61 years of being the Queen of a country that has once ruled the earth can be stressful and straining at times. And sixty one years has been a long, long time. At 87, she’s way past her retirement, but she chose not to because she has a vow to fulfill never to forsake her service for the rest of her life. While Queen Beatrix of Netherlands was happy to hand over the reins of ruling her subjects in exchange for a less burdensome life, the Queen carries on with her duty. Life as usual, as they say, even if old age has made her bent and her health frailer that it used to be.
It all Began When Her Majesty was Hospitalized
Queen Elizabeth II began to cut back her busy schedule when she was showing signs of gastroenteritis. Prior to her hospitalization, CNN reports that Her Majesty “had canceled a planned trip to Wales… after exhibiting symptoms of the illness,” and that “all official engagements… [has been ] postponed or canceled. The Queen was eventually rushed to Edward VII Hospital “as a precautionary measure,” although she remained “in good spirits and good health.”
But while her Majesty’s spirit has remained spritely and her over-all health still well and fine, it can’t be denied that she had become a little bit bent and frail following her hospitalization. And this led to the realization that the 87-year-old monarch really needs to slow things down and enjoy more of herself, although enjoying oneself is something that the Queen will never place first on her priorities. Duty first still remains her mantra in life.
Queen skips Commonwealth Meeting
In view of the Queen’s recent hospitalization and “the long haul travel,” Buckingham Palace has announced the Queen’s decision to skip the meeting of the heads of Commonwealth in Sri Lanka. This was the first time in four decades that the Queen will fail to meet the leaders of her far flung dominions beyond the seas. Although rumors spread that the Queen’s refusal to attend the meeting was a sign of protest to Sri Lanka’s hostile government, it became apparently known that age is to blame’s the queen’s decision.
Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall sit Beside Her Majesty
If there was any need to confirm of Prince Charles’ rising position at Court, then, that would be his presence at the State Opening of Parliament. All bedecked in kingly regalia, the Prince of Wales and Heir to the Throne is accompanied by his consort, The Duchess of Cornwall.
“Their presence together, and sitting next to the Queen, was unthinkable a decade ago and is indicative of the changes the monarchy has undergone in recent years.”
But that does not matter anymore. The public has already forgiven Camilla and since her marriage to Prince Charles, she has proven herself a worthy member of the Royal Family.
Hello magazine has been generous in praising her for her contribution to the Royal Family:
“It wasn't always like this. She has overcome reservations about her role in the royal family to become a familiar, fun-loving member of the monarchy whose engagements guarantee smiles and good feeling.
That accessibility is equally valued within the clan, where she has carved out a role as mentor to the other Windsor wives – particularly to the Duchess of Cambridge, for whom she is an endless source of support.”
If I may say so, had this couple been given the chance to wed right before they met and exchanged vows with their exes, the Royal Family could have averted the scandals that ensued after Charles divorced Diana and after the former Princess of Wales died in that fateful car accident.
While the Queen’s speech had been centered on what her government aims to achieve this year, the presence of her heir and his consort took the center stage.
Time’s Catherine Mayer notes:
"For the first time, the Queen will be accompanied on the dais at this annual ceremonial fixture not only by her doughty husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, but by their son — and her heir — the Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall. Their presence will signal a shift in public life that is likely to impact far more Britons than any law about muzzling pitbulls. After more than 60 years, the Elizabethan era is drawing to a close, and the Charlesian age is dawning."
Much to our desire to see Her Majesty continue fulfilling her tasks every day, we cannot deny the fact that she’s nearing the sunset of her of life and reign. Perhaps, everyone around her feels the same. And the government is doing her a favor of letting Prince Charles, perhaps, the longest serving King-in-waiting in history, to take some—if not all of her mother’s responsibility.
The prince has earned the reputation of always airing his opinion, especially on very delicate issues that might affect his interests. It is not a secret that the aside from the Queen, Prince Charles has vetoed numerous legislations. And that makes him different from his mother. While the Queen maintained an image of unquestionable political neutrality, a stance that made her a true-blue nonpartisan head of state, Prince Charles completely does the opposite. And that worries top Palace officials and Cabinet officials. Simply put, the more the Prince of Wales keeps airing his views, the more he ignites Republican sentiments, which, let’s admit it, the Queen has magical hushed all this time by her fairness and objectivity.
“The great virtue of a constitutional monarch is that they say nothing, and have no opinion, and certainly no political ones.”
It’s a personal challenge that Prince Charles has to hurdle if he wants to match his mother’s soaring popularity.