In the US we have no royalty. Kardashians not withstanding. In fact, we went to great lengths to get rid of the last king we had way back in 1776. But I’m sitting here enduring the corona-pocalypse, and I’m starting to wonder. Would we have been so quick to bolt if we’d had a Queen instead of crazy old George III? Aside from these idle thoughts, I’d thought I’d look into a bit of history. What brought this on was watching Queen Elizabeth II give her address to her subjects this week. She was concise. To the point. And she drew upon the past million or so years of Brits buckling down to face a challenge. I was ready to go to war against a virus or anything else. Man this woman is a true treasure.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been listening to our president, Donald Trump now for weeks on end, and he’s done an adequate job of bucking up our national spirit. In fact, I’m amazed at what he’s been able to do given how much everyone hates him. And I’m sure the Brits have been listening to their guy Boris. And I hope that he gets well soon. But it looks like the Brits and the Yanks are going to face the brunt of this virus thing. Thanks China.
We are going through it now, and our cousins across the pond are probably looking at things a couple weeks down the road. And this is pretty scary stuff. But while our guy is telling us that we have the best and the brightest working around the clock, and that we’ll all be back in the pink by the end of the month, the Brits have this national icon who has been there through thick, thin, then thick and thin again. I mean this woman gave a speech on radio when she was 14 to tell kids not to be afraid of the Nazi bombings.
I watched her again and again and I think having a queen is a pretty cool thing.
I looked back at the British monarchs. It’s easy with Wikipedia. It turns out that since Alfred the Great way back in the year 886, there have been about 65 total monarchs. Some of them hung on for quite a while, but a lot were just a few days before somebody knocked them off or the black plague got them. So that’s an average of about 17 and a half years per. Not bad considering we only get about 8 years out of our presidents. FDR tried to hang on a bit longer, but still only about 12 years for him. Some of these kings started their rule as babies, so I guess that helps the average. Also, for some odd reason, a bunch of the early ones have names starting with “AE”, AElfweard, AEthelstan, AEthelred, the list goes on. And a bunch of them have cool adjectives like Edgar the Peaceful and AEthelred the Unready, Edward the Confessor and my personal favorite Canute the Great. Who knew there was a Canute in there?
Out of these 65, there were 7 ruling queens. Some only lasted a few days, but some lasted forever. Queen Elizabeth I reigned for 44 and a half years back in the late 1500s. People only lived about 30 years, so this was quite a feat. Queen Victoria was there for almost 64 years and presided over the height of the British Empire. But nobody outlasted Queen Elizabeth II who is still going strong over 68 years into her reign. For my money, keep the kings. You’d be hard pressed to name a decent one. Give me a queen any day. It’s cost-effective!
For one thing, it is probably damn expensive to hold a coronation. I mean you have to close down London, kick all the tourists out of Westminster Abbey, and think of all the horses and stuff. Then you have to go to the Tower and get all the jewels out of the vault. I mean its got to cost a few farthings. So you get a queen in there that lasts the better part of a century. You save the realm quite a bit of brass. Plus, you don’t have to change all the stationary in Buckingham Palace very often. You know that can’t be cheap.
In addition, you can make quite a case for naming your queen Elizabeth. There have been two of them. And if you plot their reign versus their number, you can see that Elizabeth III (whenever she comes along) is likely going to reign for about 90 years. And this doesn’t take into account that Queen Elizabeth II shows absolutely no sign of slowing down which could result in the future Elizabeth lasting for 100 years or more. Hey, don’t argue with me. This is linear extrapolation and its done all the time. Don’t mess with math.
Now you can’t just get a queen. The Brits have all kinds of crazy rules that makes it pretty tough to rule if you happen to be born female. Yet, with all their success, you’d think they’d pass a new rule to allow for more queens. This is nothing against William who I’m sure will be just fine. Charles kinda got screwed there, though.
Since us Yanks can’t have a queen, maybe we’ll get a woman president some day. A good one I hope. And if things follow like they do in the UK, I’m betting she’ll be a keeper. Elizabeth Warren……hmm…..