Elizabeth II, Pop Save the Queen

Elizabeth II, Pop Save the Queen

139 paintings represent the queen, a world record. Portraits signed by great photographers, such as Cecil Beaton or Chris Levine, are followed by more personal visions, such as the painting by Lucian Freud showing, in 2001, the elderly queen. Andy Warhol captured the royal figure in 1985 from a photograph by Peter Gurgeon.

Reigning Queens: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom accentuates the sharpness of the sovereign’s features on chromos in the colors of the British flag, the Union Jack: red, blue, white. A more classic palette than for the flamboyant representation of Marilyn Monroe, as if the cantor of pop art retained the respectful gaze of an official portraitist for the impressive monarch, with a piercing and attentive gaze, with a distant smile.

In the street, the queen has often been there… In contact with her subjects, even in her last two public outings on July 12 and 15, 2022 to honor the action of the NHS, the British health service, this popular sovereign is part of public space.

The press, since a first cartoon which showed her at 21 as a somewhat ridiculous princess, caricatured her relentlessly, but without malice. In the 1980s and 1990s, the satirical program “Spitting Image”, halfway between the “Bébête Show” and the “Guignols de l’info”, went further in irreverence. Banksy, mysterious English master of street art, painted with stencil in a street of Bristol this realistic, but ultimately very respectful portrait, on which the face of Elizabeth II is crossed out with a lightning bolt inspired by the one worn by David Bowie on the Aladdin Sane album cover.

Elizabeth II, Pop Save the Queen

The queen’s Lego figurine plays on the harmony of her grandmother’s white hair and her immaculate dress. The blue ribbon she wears owes nothing to chance. At United Kingdom, the “blue ribbon” symbolizes excellence. It crowns the first place won in a sports competition since the French “cordon bleu” crossed the Channel with William the Conqueror. The blue ribbon is emblematic of the Order of the Garter, the highest British distinction with the famous motto “Honi soi qui mal y pense”.

Elizabeth II, Pop Save the Queen

When the favorite character of British toddlers meets the Queen, it is the mimicry of colors and curves that prevails. Elizabeth II, who has become the ideal grandmother of the little slut Peppa Pig, moves away in cartoons from ironic representations of the Simpsons or provocative South Park. No more irreverence, hello respect in two recent animated films, The Minions and Royal Corgi.

Merchandized at all costs, the queen finds herself in very many objects of questionable utility and sometimes dubious taste. At the most trivial of a cult built with odds and ends generally made in China or Vietnam, decorative plastic silhouettes, Funko Pop figurines with a big head on a small body, a royal Barbie that has become a collector… The other side of the coin for the most famous personality in the world. All the coins and banknotes of the United Kingdom for seventy years, not counting those of the fourteen countries of the Commonwealth subjects of the Crown, were minted in his likeness during his reign and his face appears today on 68 billion coins.

Elizabeth II, Pop Save the Queen

British pop has only known one queen. But did the latter prefer classical music, the sound of the bagpipes? Anyway, she loved the Beatles she ennobled, even if John Lennon refused “with love” this distinction. Nothing to do with punk anger, when in the spring of 1977, during its silver jubilee (25 years of reign), the Sex Pistols hijacked the God Save The Queen shouting “There’s no future in England’s dreaming”. Calling the monarchy a “fascist regime”, they angrily cross the queen’s face. Imperturbable, the sovereign let the outrage pass and continued to ennoble pop stars: Cliff Richard, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Ray Davies (The Kinks), Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music)… wear the title of Sir that David Bowie refused twice.

In a moment of tenderness and humor, Her Majesty had tea with Paddington Bear for her jubilee in June 2022. Imperturbable and smiling in the face of a blundering teddy bear who drinks from the teapot, Elizabeth II brings out a marmalade toast from her purse then taps her cup with her spoon rhythm of the drums playing “We Will Rock You” by Queen in front of Buckingham. This video shows the sovereign widow, fragile and tired, but courageously present one last time. A dignified, touching and melancholic farewell.

Elizabeth II, Pop Save the Queen

But it’s really her! Viewers of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony pinched themselves very hard when they saw Elizabeth II escorted by James Bond, alias Daniel Craig, leaving her office at Buckingham Palace with a firm step. A meeting at the top with Her Majesty’s most famous agent preludes a spectacular scene: a few minutes later, she seemed to be parachuting over the Olympic stadium. It was a double, when the queen, the real one, appeared on the official stand of the stadium to a wild ovation.

Elizabeth II, Pop Save the Queen

The royal mug is an almost sacred institution in the UK. Blooming on all occasions with Crown-approved mugs and pirate cups with unlimited creativity, the object thrones on desks and kitchens by revealing the preferences of their users. William and Kate rather than Harry and Meghan, Diana or Camilla, Queen Elizabeth II or King Charles III? You can also choose an apolitical and universal teacup, adorned with a very British maxim: ” Keep calm and carry on » (« Keep calm and carry on as normal “).

Elizabeth II, Pop Save the Queen