Tag Archives: Queen Elizabeth II

Queens and Consorts

The_Queens_Head-2010-Wolfgang-Wild-wikicommonsSeventy years ago, in classrooms and public venues in the UK and Commonwealth, people sang God Save the Queen for the first time in 51 years. On February 6, 1952, Queen Elizabeth came to the throne. Queen Victoria had died on January 22, 1901.

In the half century between, it had been God Save the King. Victoria was followed by her son Edward VII (1901-1910). He by his son George V (1910-1936). Then he by his sons, Edward VIII (1936) then George VI (1936-1952).

Victoria and Elizabeth II are the two longest reigning monarchs in British history, nearly 64 years and 70 years respectively. They are queens regnant, monarchs in their own right. Wives of kings, also called Queen, are queens consort. Short form for both: Queen.

Queens and King

That’s why, in 1952, the British royal family had three queens. Elizabeth II was the reigning monarch. Her mother, also Queen Elizabeth, became a dowager queen and queen mother. Her grandmother Queen Mary, widow of George V, was also a dowager queen and queen mother.

3-queens-1952-vaguelyinteresting.co_.ukWhile there can be more than one queen, there is only one king at a time. The title of king outranks queen and so is given only to a reigning male monarch. Elizabeth gave her husband Philip the next highest title, Prince. Victoria named Albert, her husband, Prince Consort. Only twice was the husband of a British queen regnant given the title of King (Queens Mary I and II) and, both times, the husbands acted as if they were the predominant monarch. So it hasn’t been done again in over 300 years.

When Elizabeth’s father took the throne in 1936, the year itself was worthy of commemorative plates and tea towels. King George VI was the third king that year. That had happened only twice before: in 1066 when William the Conqueror vied with two other contenders for the throne and in 1483 during the War of the Roses.

The_year_of_the_three_Kings-pd-wikicommonsHalf a millennium later, in January 1936, George V died. His eldest son took the throne as Edward VIII, then abdicated in December to marry Wallis Simpson. Edward had no children, so his younger brother became George VI. His heirs were his daughters, the princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.

God Save the King – and Consort

If Elizabeth’s heirs live good long lives, it will be a long time before anyone again sings God Save the Queen. Charles, William and George – all future kings. Charles and William already have their future queens.

Prince_Charles_Christening_Family_Portrait-15-Dec-1948-Anefo-wikicommonsBut would Charles’ wife be Queen Camilla? The circumstances of their 2005 marriage had busied the royal problem solvers. The solution was announced by Buckingham Palace: when Charles becomes king, Camilla would be called HRH The Princess Consort. A brand new title, designed specifically for her.

The need for this was due both to protocol and optics. The Church of England did not permit divorced people to remarry. Camilla was divorced from Andrew Parker Bowles. Charles, technically a widower by that time, had also been divorced. This already slippery ground for the Church was further made impossible by appearances.

Charles’ first wife had been Diana. Her life, marriage and death played out on the public stage. Camilla was the co-star of the show. So, just as it was deemed unseemly for Camilla to use the title by which Diana was known, the Princess of Wales, it was deemed unseemly for her to take the title which would have been Diana’s in a different future, Queen.

Since then, however, speculation has been that Charles wants Camilla to be called Queen Consort when he comes to the throne. Yesterday, in her Accession Day message, Queen Elizabeth ended the speculation. She wrote “it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort.” So, a hope that time has  lessened the controversy? I doubt the Queen’s wish will be denied, so it’s Camilla, Queen Consort or Queen Camilla.

With William and Kate, assuming they continue as they’ve been, there is no reason for debate over her titles. She will be Princess of Wales, then Queen Catherine. A queen consort.

God Save the Queen

Queen_Elizabeth_II_artwork-2012-AK-Rockefeller-wikicommonsMeanwhile, “long to reign over us, God save the Queen.” The metal to mark a 70th anniversary is platinum. The alternate metal for it is iron. Rarity and strength – both emblematic of Queen Elizabeth II.

Third Generation

Tony Warren 1992

The Queen came to Coronation Street and she stood and chatted to me. I really couldn’t believe it. Because they’d just rebuilt the set. And I was standing there after she’d gone. I thought: how many writers wake up one morning and they think, well, I’ll write a show. I’ll have a pub at one end of the street and I’ll have a corner shop at the other.

And they live to see it built, first of all, in the studio in just lath and plaster. Then to see it built out on the backlot once and then to see it totally rebuilt. And my goodness, there’s the Queen of England walking down it. I was dazed by the whole thing.

Then this man came up to me and he said “have you got to the third generation yet?” And I thought go away! In fact, I thought much more strongly than that. I’ve just been talking to the Queen of England!

I suddenly realized, and I said, you know, you’ve just earned yourself a gold clock. He said, what do you mean? I said, well, there’s a gold clock for anyone who asks an original question about Coronation Street and that is an original one.

Elsie begat Linda who begat Paul Cheveski. Yes, we have got to the third generation. And where would you like the clock sent? He said, we’re not short of them at the Palace. And it was the Duke of Edinburgh!

Tony Warren with Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Street set 1982 corriepedia
L-R (facing camera) Bill Podmore, H V Kershaw, Denis Parkin, Tony Warren (backs to camera) David Plowright, Prince Philip, Denis Forman, Elizabeth II 1982 photo Corriepedia

Gold Clock Moment

Coronation Street creator Tony Warren told me, in 1992, about Queen Elizabeth opening the show’s new set 10 years earlier. About looking at it, his realm on the backlot of Granada Studios. And then, thanks to Prince Philip, thinking about the lineage of the characters he had created.

Tony Warren lived to see another incarnation of his street – larger and in a totally new area, but the same bricks and cobbles. In 2013 the new set at Media City UK opened. tony-warren and ITV tony warren building-Jtomlin1uk-2014-corriepedia

But it was still Tony’s realm, and his history. “I’m the only person here today who has been in four times to see the brand new set installed,” he told Ian Wylie (Life of Wylie). “Coronation Street hasn’t moved at all. It’s exactly where it always was. Which is wherever you want it to be inside your own imagination.”

Tony also saw the fourth generation added to his families. Not the Tanner-valerie-and-ken-barlow third generation twins-peter-and-susan-1965-maz79-corriepediaCheveski family, but the Barlows. Like Linda and her mother, Ken Barlow and his parents were in the very first episode. Sixty-eight years later, he is still there. So are his children – third generation – and his grandchildren – the fourth generation.

It’s three months since I left the Street. I miss it, yes, but my routine has shifted to fill the gap it left. Will I return? Not yet. I want to know that I will stay when I come back. I can’t just drop in for a visit.

Royal Corgis

A week ago, the death of an elderly dog made headlines. A pet’s death is always momentous for his or her loved ones. But it’s usually not world news.  Willow, who died April 15th, was Queen Elizabeth’s pet, however, and her last link to Susan, matriarch of the Royal Corgis.

star-weekly-toronto-p-1-may-23-1953
Queen Elizabeth with her pet Corgi terrier Susan, at Balmoral Castle. Photo by Lida Sheridan

Willow is a 14th generation descendant of the Queen’s first Corgi, Hickathrift Pippa, known as Susan. Susan was born in 1944 and died in 1959. King George VI gave the two-month old pup to his daughter Elizabeth on her 18th birthday, 74 years ago.

Corgis in the York family

Susan wasn’t the first Corgi in the royal household. In 1933, the Queen’s father bought a pup from Corgi breeder Thelma Evans Gray. The pup’s name was Dookie (Rozavel Golden Eagle). Three years later, a female pup called Jane (Rozavel Lady Jane) joined the family.

Unbeknownst to the then Duke of York, he and Thelma had discussed dogs before. When Thelma was 9, her dog was killed by a car – the Duke’s car. He wrote to Thelma’s parents, offering to buy her another dog. Thanks but no, they replied, Thelma’s grief was too great. Thelma, however, wrote to him that she would happily accept. He told her that they must abide by her parents’ wishes.
Royals and Corgis 1940 Star Weekly May 30 1953
Thelma grew up and established Rozavel Kennels. When the Duke bought the Corgi pups from her in the 1930s, he didn’t make the connection to the child Thelma. And she never told him.

The Susan Lineage

Susan was the Queen’s first dog of her own. Susan had pups and they had pups. So through the decades, there were always Royal Corgis of Susan’s line. But several years ago, the Queen said no more. She didn’t want to leave any young dogs behind.

007 Buckingham Palace Newspix International people.comWillow, Monty and Holly were the last three Susan descendants. Monty died in September 2012, soon after the Corgis starred in the London Olympics “007” video with the Queen and Daniel Craig. Monty was named for Monty Roberts, the “Horse Whisperer” and friend and advisor of the Queen. Holly passed away in 2016.

The Queen’s Pembroke Welsh Corgis were of the best stock. She put the same care into their pedigree that she does for her horses. But they were her pets, her friends. Unlike her horses, the Queen has never entered her dogs in competition.

Windsor Loyal Subject welshcorgi-news.ch
Windsor Loyal Subject aka Edward, b 1971

Only one royal Corgi ever competed in dog shows. The Queen gave Windsor Loyal Subject, aka Edward, to Thelma Gray, along with permission to show him. He won twice at Crufts dog show in the 1970s.

The Queen still has her Dorgis. They started from an unsanctioned Princess Elizabeth with dogs Star Weekly March 1 1952dalliance between one of the Corgis and Princess Margaret’s Dachshund. She also has one elderly Corgi. The Queen took Whisper home after his owner died in 2017. Bill Fenwick, her retired gamekeeper, and his late wife Nancy looked after the Royal Corgis for many years.

So a Corgi is still with the Queen. But no Corgis of Susan, a lineage that accompanied the Queen for longer than even Prince Philip.

Royal Wedding Anniversary

duke-and-princessHappy anniversary, Elizabeth and Philip. November 20th marks 69 years since their wedding. Four children, 8 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren. Three heirs apparent to the British throne – son, grandson, great-grandson.

On November 20, 1947 a Princess married her prince. Her prince was a Royal Navy Lieutenant and somewhere in line for the shaky throne of Greece. She was heir to the British throne.

royal-news-clippings
A page from my mother’s Royal Wedding scrapbook. (Click to enlarge)

So that Philip would have British royal credentials, the bride’s father conferred HRH status on him, then titles. On his wedding day, Philip became HRH Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich. In 1957 his wife, then Queen, made him a Prince of the United Kingdom.

Princess Elizabeth’s Wedding scrapbook

Their wedding was the first big royal event after World War II. Six years of war had exhausted the British people and British resources. A news clipping (CP Nov. 19, 1947) my mother kept says British china manufacturers “can’t spare the time or the materials” to make wedding collectibles. The Royals and government knew, however, that after years of privation the nation wanted to enjoy something beautiful. So lavish, but not too lavish.

royal-wedding-shoes
“Here is an artist’s study of the royal wedding shoes…” (Click to enlarge)

Every step of the wedding planning was reported. Everyone, I imagine, followed along as if they were in the wedding party. My mother did. She made a scrapbook called “Princess Elizabeth’s Wedding”. I took the clippings here from it.

At the time, my parents lived in a farmhouse north of Belmont in southwestern Ontario. Dad drove a milk truck and installed glass. Mom looked after two small children. The people who owned the farm and their animals provided her only regular company. Dad worked long hours. Mom was home alone a lot.

So in 1947 Mom spent a lot of time, I think, reading about the upcoming wedding. Dad would have been interested too. He had a soft spot for Princess Elizabeth. She had signed up for service during the war, she knew how to strip down an engine and rebuild it – that meant a lot to him. A mechanic in the RCEME, he worked on those same engines in the UK at the same time.

George VI and Princess Margaret
Left: “Viewed wedding gifts…” George VI and Princess Margaret. Top right: “Royal Groceries Bought on Credit”, Lower right: “Loyal Londoners Beam with Pride” – and compare their royals to others. (Click to enlarge)

Five years of ‘ordinary life’

Elizabeth and Philip had five years of what passes as ordinary life for royals. He continued in the Navy. They had two babies. Then five years later, her father died. Everything changed for her and Philip.

She became Queen Elizabeth II. He became first and foremost the Queen’s husband. Two more children. Nearly seven decades after that wedding, Elizabeth and Philip are still cutting ribbons and unveiling plaques. They are the foundation of a Royal Family that, despite predictions of its demise and its own drama and trauma, seems to be going strong. Long may they live.

Elizabeth and Philip wave from Buckingham Palace balcony
“Elizabeth and Philip, man and wife, were cheered by London’s teeming thousands…”

 

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth and corgis 1953Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday today. My mother, two years older, grew up with the Queen. From her teen years to adulthood, Mom kept scrapbooks about the Queen’s life. Clippings carefully pasted in, over-filling the large pages.

There was a lot of news about the Royals. Thanks to Mom, I have a pretty good record of their lives.

Mom’s scrapbooks weren’t purpose-built for a Royalty collection. But there were those, I discovered in a second-hand shop in Sussex. Scrapbooks exactly like Mom’s but with a full-page image of the Queen on the cover. Mom wasn’t the only person with the mission of keeping a record of the Queen’s life.

Fairy Tale Princesses

Their Majesties with Princess Elizabeth and Civil Defence dogProbably mainly young women, entranced by the fairy tale aspects of Elizabeth and Margaret, the two beautiful young princesses. Princesses who as children had thought they’d always be in the choir of the royal family, not among the soloists.

That changed in 1936, when their Uncle David abdicated. Their father, the next eldest son, went from Duke of York to King George VI. Princess Elizabeth, being his first born, would wear the crown after him – in time, many years down the road.

wedding 1947 Elizabeth and Philip scrapbook pageIn the meantime, she could have a life a bit outside the limelight. She married at the age of 21, two years after World War II ended, and had children. Her naval officer husband was stationed in Malta, so they lived there for a time.

Queen Elizabeth and family 1952 on Clarence House lawnHer life had parallels with the lives of women like my mother. A WWII veteran husband, two baby boom children, making a new home while keeping close with parents and family. In the magazines, you saw a beautiful young woman, impish children, handsome husband, a dog or two. A privileged version of the post-war, post-Depression life shared, or aspired to, by many.

Three Queens

George VI death headline and new queen in mourningIt all changed, too soon, for her. George VI died in 1952 at the age of 56. Three bereaved Queens shrouded in black – mother, wife and daughter. The daughter now the reigning monarch.

For 64 years now, she has been Queen. We still see photographs of her and her family in magazines and social media. We know quite a lot royal scrapbooks made by my momof detail about the lives of her children and grandchildren, but we actually know very little about Queen Elizabeth. Her life has been such a part of our history and our geography that she is familiar to us. We feel like we know her, much the same, I think, as my mother felt about her when they were both young girls.

Have a very happy birthday, ma’am.