Pity the printshop responsible for Queen Elizabeth's business cards. Just one of her many official titles is: Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith.
But, the Black-Eyed Peas Star will.i.am has a less formal moniker; he simply calls her "super dope."
I have to agree.
Like a lot of other women my age, I once idolized Princess Diana. In fact, I remember her wedding like it was yesterday. I was working a "graveyard shift" at my college's conference center, sitting the front desk of a dorm-turned-hotel from midnight until 8:00 am. Most nights, I brought magazines, a sketchpad or journal to while away the time. But in the early morning hours of July 29, 1981, I was glued to the television. What a fairy tale it all seemed!
Of course, the world soon learned that in the case of the Prince and Princess of Wales, there was to be no happy ending. And, the media had a field day detailing the former Diana Spencer's flaws. But, despite it all, she re-invented herself into the image of a modern-day royal, one with a big heart and utterly human touch.
When Diana died, I was eight and a half months pregnant with my daughter. I sat on the couch and sobbed as Elton John sang his new interpretation of "Candle in the Wind," "Good-bye England's Rose." (Truth is, by that time pretty much anything — a Hallmark ad, a puppy — made me cry.) The mother of two young sons and a woman who had already affected so many and might have lived to do so much good. By anyone's count, she died too young.
With Diana gone, I cancelled my subscription to Royalty magazine. I resented the Windsors. They didn't know a good thing when they had it! There is simply no way that Diana would have been cavorting about with Dodi Al-Fayed if Charles had been faithful or the Queen had been a warmer mother-in-law.
But, I think I underestimated Elizabeth ...
• While still a princess, she worked tirelessly during and after World War II, not only to contribute to the effort but to rally and comfort her people
• She serves as the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states, and head of the 54 members of the Commonwealth of Nations (just think of all the frequent flyer miles)
• She awarded the Beatles Members of the Order of the British Empire
• She survived her "annus horribilus," including the scandalous separations of her two sons and the devastating Windsor Castle fire
• Despite the fact that she is the traditional head of the Church of England, she has worked to achieve religious tolerance and freedom
• She has owned more than 30 corgis
• And, nobody — and I mean nobody — wears a coat and matching hat quite like she does!
Shakespeare wrote, "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown." I get the sense that Elizabeth doesn't allow herself to lose any sleep because she knows full well that she needs a full night's beauty rest to get through each day. I sincerely doubt she has ever called in sick.
Over the years, I've definitely mellowed in my opinion of her Majesty. (I still can't quite stomach her eldest son, though.) Today, I find much to admire in Elizabeth. She has served her nation and her people with a sense of lifelong duty that we would be hard-pressed to find in many leaders of this country. She works her royal butt off. She is smart and can be quite funny. And, this weekend, she will celebrate 60 years on the throne. 60 years. That's a lot of tea and crumpets.
My tween daughter and I are heading to London at the end of June for a bat mitzvah. After three days of festivities, we'll have just about 36 hours to do any sightseeing before we head off. We are going to try and see a play, do some shopping, visit a museum. And, although it's been many (many, many) years since my daughter dressed up as a princess, Buckingham Palace is also on our list.
It's rather high on our list.