Tag Archives: Queen Elizabeth II

What a difference a head of state can make

I could not help but draw the immediate comparison to another head of state when I heard Queen Elizabeth II speaking Sunday to her subjects about the coronavirus pandemic.

You know how it goes, my fellow Americans, when we hear constantly from our head of state, Donald Trump, who has the capacity to say so little with so much useless verbiage.

Then in the United Kingdom, Her Majesty the Queen addressed her subjects for only the fourth time in the more than 60 years of her rule.

The queen was, shall we say, majestic. She spoke for only a few moments. She said with absolute calm that the UK will get through the pandemic. The UK will emerge strong and she implored Brits, Welsh, Scots and Irish to pull together as one family.

She spoke of the horror she endured during World War II as a youngster living through the Battle of Britain, as Nazi warplanes bombed and strafed the cities. She said our current war is every bit as deadly as that earlier conflict.

Then she ended it.

National Public Radio reported this morning that the Queen’s remarks were so profound, so rare and so well-aimed that she moved many of her listeners to tears.

Imagine, if you can, that kind of reaction on this side of The Pond to the sound of our own head of state. You can stop laughing now.

Here is Her Majesty’s speech:

You will not hear a single, solitary self-serving boast from this magnificent monarch.


Here we go again: Trump manages to ruffle ’em in the UK

I am slapping myself silly over the president of the United States’ inability to conduct himself with anything approaching the dignity his high office would demand.

Donald Trump is getting set for a state visit to the United Kingdom. He’ll meet with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and many other dignitaries. State visits compel him to meet with the high and mighty among his hosts.

But what in the world is this guy trying to do?

Prime Minister Teresa May has announced her resignation. Trump then weighed in with a virtual endorsement of Boris Johnson as May’s possible successor. Labor Party officials say that a U.S. president should meddle in a British election; one of them called Trump’s near-endorsement to be “unacceptable.”

Oh, and then there’s the dust-up over the Duchess of Sussex, the American-born wife of Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, who said in 2016 that she might consider moving out of the country if Trump were elected president.

Trump responded by saying something about Markle being “nasty,” but then said he believed she would do well as a member of the British royal family.

White House officials say that Trump’s remarks were taken “out of context.” OK. Whatever.

If only the president of the United States would understand — let alone follow — the rules of diplomatic decorum.

He shouldn’t offer any public opinion on who should become the head of government of an allied nation in the midst of enormous economic and political turmoil.

Nor should he pop off about a beloved member of the royal family, tossing around the “nasty” epithet just because she — as an American citizen — was offering a political statement, which she is entitled to do.

It’s always something with this guy.

Donald Trump: hardly a master of protocol

Social media are going nuts … yet again.

This time it’s the president of the United States apparently committing a no-no by walking in front of Her Majesty the Queen of England while reviewing troops at Windsor Castle.

Donald Trump momentarily violated an ancient protocol by walking ahead of Queen Elizabeth II, prompting social media in Britain to go a good bit ballistic.

I am of two minds on this one.

First, the president is not a subject of the queen. That score was settled in 1781 when Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Va., ending the American Revolution. Moreover, the president is a head of state, just as her majesty is a head of state. They are peers.

However, and this is critical, the president is treading on QE 2’s turf. He is the guest in her country. Thus, it would seem quite appropriate for the visiting dignitary to honor the traditions followed by the host country. One of them is that no one on Earth walks ahead of the ruling monarch, particularly while she is reviewing the troops in a formal ceremony.

I remember the time former first lady Michelle Obama put her hand on the queen’s back while greeting her. Social media went nuts then, too. How dare this commoner dare to touch her majesty? Well, that one blew over quickly.

I guess this one will, too.

Here’s how CNN reported it.

Still, Mr. President, you need to listen carefully to what your protocol staff tells you about certain matters. Let the queen show you the way, sir.

And whatever you do, Mr. President, don’t ever ask the queen about the contents of her purse.

Queen E replaces Queen V as longest on the throne


A story out of Great Britain got me to remembering a hilarious quip that a young typesetter once muttered way back in the old days.

Queen Elizabeth II is now the longest-reigning monarch in British history, having served longer than Queen Victoria, who sat on the throne from 1837 until her death in 1901.

Congrats belong to Her Majesty the Queen.

Queen sets record on UK throne

Back to the quip.

I worked from 1977 until 1984 at a daily newspaper in Oregon City, Ore. The Enterprise-Courier no longer exists, but it once was a feisty little paper that sought to compete under the shadow of the one-time behemoth The Oregonian.

It was an afternoon paper, which meant I got to the office early in the morning to start “stripping the wire” of hard copy and separating the stories into appropriate categories: national, international and state/regional.

I came upon a tidbit that United Press International published daily. It was a factoid, kind of a trivia item. One morning I saw on the wire that Queen Victoria was the longest-serving monarch in Britain. She’d been queen for 63 years.

I turned to one of our typesetters, a quiet young woman whose name escapes me, and mentioned how long Queen V had been on the British throne.

Her response? “You mean she had to hold it that long?”


Queen prepared doomsday speech

Queen Elizabeth II once wrote a speech that, thank God in heaven, she never had to deliver.

It was a speech noting the outbreak of World War III, to have been delivered in 1983.


It was a dress rehearsal for disaster, as the link here notes.

Here is a portion of what Her Majesty the Queen wrote:

“Now this madness of war is once more  spreading through the world and our brave country must again prepare itself to  survive against great odds.

“I have never forgotten the sorrow and pride I  felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my  father’s inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939. Not for a single moment  did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to  me.”

She was noting, of course, the outbreak of World War II, when Adolf Hitler’s forces invaded Poland and sent the world plunging into its bloodiest conflict. Elizabeth hadn’t yet ascended to the throne.

These are the kinds of documents that are worth preserving for all time, if only to remind us that foresight does exist in the highest places.

Still, when I read those remarks I couldn’t help but think of another great individual’s remarks about the consequence of a world war in the nuclear age.

They came from Albert Einstein, one of the fathers of the atomic bomb.

He said: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”