Elizabeth: the last of the Titans

by Alessandro Cammarano

English is a wonderful language, capable of condensing many concepts into one word.

One of the most beautiful and dense is “decency” – which embodies the concepts of decorum, honor, modesty, dignity – and with it the corresponding adjective “decent”: Elizabeth II was the most plastic of the representations for seventy ‘ years, not only for his country.

Now she is gone, last of the Titans, not before she has performed her ultimate act of service to her country, receiving a Balmoral Liz Truss – who incidentally is a hideous parody of Margaret Thatcher – fifteenth Prime Minister of her reign for the “hand-kissing ceremony”, thus avoiding leaving behind a dangerous vacuum of executive power and a potential institutional grain that would have been the first problem of his successor.

He signed official documents by prefixing his name with a “your servant” which says a lot about how he intended his task towards a nation that literally picked up from the rubble of World War II – at the beginning of his reign, in 1952, in the Kingdom united still existed the rationing which was abolished shortly after – holding firmly the helm in times of crisis and representing that “safe haven” in which the British people have always felt protected.

In seven decades he had to face more than a moment of crisis, from the dissolution of the Empire to the terrorist attacks of the IRA, from the miners’ strike to the Annus Horribilis, that 1992 which saw the personal and image crisis of the Royal Family – with the separation of Charles and Diana over everything – and the Windsor Castle fire.

Only in two moments did he hesitate: the first time in 1966, on the occasion of the Aberfan disaster – when a mountain of mining debris submerged a primary school in the Welsh town causing the death of 144 people including 114 children – deciding to go to the site of the catastrophe eight days after the events. When she arrived she did not hide her tears, showing herself much less “detached” than how certain popular narrative she painted her and continued to paint her.

Sin of untimeliness also in 1997 in the aftermath of the tragic death of Lady Diana, not returning immediately to London from Balmoral and the then Prime Minister Tony Blair had to put her in front of a scenario that very much resembled a popular revolt against the monarchical institution .

He came out great, bowing his head as Diana’s coffin passed and after a simply perfect speech to the nation.

She had next to her a companion of exceptional caliber like Prince Philip, her “rock” as she has always defined him. Upon her death on April 9, 2021, Elizabeth suddenly seemed to give in to the weight of the years, as if she had consciously decided to take leave of her life.

While remaining very lucid and present, public commitments had been thinning out, entrusted to the other members of the family, and also to the official ceremonies for the Jubilee – we remember that Elizabeth was the second longest-lived kingdom in history immediately behind that of Louis XIV of France – little was seen.

Over the years she had softened, she smiled more, seemed more inclined to let her emotions shine through, irony showed in her gaze. She could afford it: she had seen everything about her during her reign, from the defeat of Nazism to the collapse of the Soviet Union, 14 presidents of the United States, ten French presidents, seven popes and an unknown number of presidents of the Italian advice.

He also had to undergo Brexit, towards which he expressed all his dissent by presenting himself to Parliament for the Crown Speech dressed in the colors of the European flag.

She was also the most famous of the Bond-Girls: how can we forget her sensational gag with Daniel Craig 007 for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games?

Wonderful her last curtain, on the occasion of the Jubilee, with the Paddington bear offering her the jam sandwich that she always keeps in her hat and she, the Queen, revealing to him that she always keeps one in her purse too.

Yes, the handbag, one of the most mysterious accessories ever, used as a signal for the beginning and end of official talks and whose contents will remain hidden forever.

We will miss Elisabetta, very much.

Alessandro Cammarano

Elizabeth: the last of the Titans