Wednesday, December 23, 2020

God Save the Queen

Queen Elizabeth II
of the United Kingdom
For my holiday message this year, I would like to share a special address from Elizabeth II, Queen of England.

This may surprise some of my readers, who, like me, are enthusiastic American-born patriots of the USA. Such readers may even view the British Monarchy as a bit of an unnecessary accoutrement of a bygone era—and a particular oddity in the twenty-first century.

Although it is no secret that my personal loyalties will always lie first-and-foremost with American democratic-republicanism, I must confess that I am, secondarily speaking, something of a British Anglophile, and with good reason.  

Aside from being an English major (bachelor's degree) and lover of Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Lewis, etc., as well as Arthurian and Robin Hood legends, most of my progenitors (on both sides of my family) hail from the British Isles. Indeed, I am, ancestrally speaking, about 85-90% British

Perhaps this explains my tolerance of the British Monarchy, a position I hold not for the sake of any sordid tabloid curiosity, but rather for the potentially positive symbols of strength, solidarity, tradition, and service that its members seek to personify and represent throughout the Commonwealth and world.  

Great Britain is a remarkable place with an extraordinary history. From the Magna Carta in the early thirteenth century (1215) to the Elizabethan rise to global hegemony in the late sixteenth century (1588); from Wellington stopping Napoleon in the early nineteenth century to Churchill's rescue of the Western World 80 years ago. And who can possibly match the matchless works of the Immortal Bard? Suffice it to say, there is an awful lot to admire throughout English history, culture, and literature—at least as viewed through my biased eyes.  

The United Kingdom of 
Great Britain and Northern Ireland
No country is perfect, of course, and Britain is certainly not without its sins. But on the whole, and viewed through a lens of what they have done right rather than what they have done wrong (at Freedom Focused, our aim is to focus primarily on a person or nation's virtues and victories rather than their vices and defeats), Britain has for centuries been an example to the rest of the world of excellence, productivity, possibility, courage, and resolve. The seedbed of the Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth century, that little Island—roughly the size of the State of Alabama—has probably produced a higher number (per capita) of noted men and women of science, literature, philosophy, art, medicine, and technology than any other nation in all of human history.  

Although Britain remains but a shadow of its former empire—upon which the sun never set for three centuries—the United Kingdom remains a respected and influential member of the G7 in the twenty-first century; a shining beacon of relative peace and stability in a world increasingly bereft of both. Moreover, their early abolition of the Slave Trade in conjunction with their own voluntary diminution of their overseas colonial holdings further evinces the positive core values that serve as their collective ideological foundation stones.

Queen Elizabeth on
Australian Currency in 1966
In contemporary times, I have come to admire Queen Elizabeth II—the longest serving monarch in English history, even longer than the famous Queen Victoria, who ruled the mightiest empire in all human history (up to her time) for an incredible 64 years! This is no small feat considering their were 60 monarchs who preceded her for a total of nearly 1,200 years. The longevity of that heritage puts into perspective the relative nascence of the United States and its more recent rise to global supremacy.

Over time, I've also grown to admire Prince William (heir to the throne) and his lovely wife, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. I do not personally know these people (yet), but I have been impressed from a distance at the ways in which they conduct themselves and represent their nation.  

The future King of England is just three years younger than I am. He got married three years after me, and at the exact same age (28). He and Kate subsequently brought a boy, girl, and then another boy into the world the precise years (2013, 2015, & 2018) and within a few short months of Lina's and my boy, girl, and another boy. With such a striking familial trajectory, it has been hard not to notice the unfolding life story of this budding English monarch and his elegant bride, both of whom are about my age.  

King George V
of the United Kingdom
For the past 88 years, the reigning English King (or Queen) has delivered a special message to the Commonwealth on Christmas Day. The first of such messages was delivered on December 15, 1932 by King George V, Queen Elizabeth II's grandfather. The speech was written by Britain's 1907 Nobel Prize winning poet, Rudyard Kipling (author of "IF" — a standard classic SAL poem at Freedom Focused). 

King George the Fifth's inaugural Christmas Day address was delivered on the radio, a popular new form of mass communication (at the time) that Winston Churchill would so masterfully employ a few years later during the Second World War.  

Twenty (20) years after King George the Fifth's first Christmas Day speech, his granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, delivered the FIRST Christmas Address of her reign in 1952. Five years after that, Elizabeth delivered the first Royal Christmas message to be broadcast on television. An extraordinary 62 years later, the same Queen gave her most recent (68th) Christmas address on December 25, 2019, now available to the entire world on YouTube.  

I recently came across this speech while helping my second-grade son, Tucker, with a homework assignment about England. 

I hope you appreciate and enjoy this message as much as I did. It is delivered by a truly remarkable human being who has been a pillar of strength, resolve, and consistency over the course of her nearly 95 years on the Planet. You will be impressed with how prescient her words were, so much so, in fact, that last year's address feels more like a message that was meant to be given this year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

Click HERE to watch the Queen's Christmas Message.  

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