This year Victoria Day is scheduled for May 22. Although the holiday was named for Queen Victoria, it is her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth who is now honoured on that date.
Queen Elizabeth was 91 years old on April 21. Despite this, she moves forward in her reign with a schedule and energy that many who are decades longer could not match. She had 294 engagements in 2016!
Movies and documentaries outline the sixty years that she has been on the throne. I believe that none of these, however, describe the importance that she has placed on separation of her personal feelings and her royal role than the Netflix series “The Crown”.
Every monarch throughout the world has a unique education, character, culture and intellect. Although s/he is usually groomed for the position, there are stressors at both micro and macro levels that put pressure on the ruler. Many of these are unexpected and could not have been predicted. Times change but in the theme of “The Crown” is that in order to protect English monarchies, the constitution must be given priority over personal preference.
Queen Elizabeth has faced so many challenges yet she has remained steady. She has never given an interview. She has not aired dirty linen when her children were in crisis. She has not slowed her pace even though in most other jobs she would have qualified for a pension more than twenty-five years ago. But Queen Elizabeth is not the only aging monarch in the world.
There are several Asian and Middle Easterners who have reigned for decades and are well past 80 years of age. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is 76 years old. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden who was born in 1946 has been on the throne since 1973.
Monarchies do not die when the monarch dies. Right now there are many heirs to the thrones in the wings. For example, there are three direct-line generations to assume the English throne – Charles, William and George. The Swedish king has five grandchildren under the age of five. All over the world, the monarchs age and the next generations are born. The lineage is set.
Will the next kings and queens be steady and loyal to the constitution? Will they deal with their personal problems in private or broadcast them with tactless abandon? Will they work collaboratively with other countries to promote peace, health and growth or will they arrogantly fight for power and position?
We don’t know what will happen before the next Victoria Day celebration. There could be several significant changes in the world. But for now, I just give thanks for Queen Elizabeth who has been a wonderful example to us with her strong work ethic, good health practices, solid character and devotion to her people.