There were seven very poignant words in the Queen’s powerful and moving speech as she battles a mysterious health crisis.
Her Majesty The Queen has long been the single greatest practitioner of the coded art of brooch wearing. Over the years, she has deployed her vast, expansive collection of diamond, ruby, and sapphire beauties to telegraph special messages to the world that she could never speak on her own.
Take Donald Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom in 2018. She first wore a green coin, donated by the Obamas, to salute him, followed, the next day, by a coin donated by Canada, then the sworn enemy. of Trump. And then finally, on the third day, she chose a teardrop-shaped number that she wore at her father’s funeral.
Today we were treated to another defining moment of public diplomacy.
In the early hours of Tuesday, the Queen addressed leaders gathered in Glasgow for COP26 via a pre-recorded video. Dressed appropriately in green, on the left side of her chest was another very peculiar sparkler – the Onslow butterfly brooch – in what was a very clear tribute to her late husband, Prince Philip. (The coin was a wedding present for the young princess in 1947 and the prominent image of the Duke of Edinburgh by her side was an image released after his death to mark his work as president of the World Wildlife Fund .)
The decision to wear such an intimate and emotionally charged piece reflected the substance of his speech, which was not an ordinary outing or an overture filled with platitudes. Instead, the 95-year-old gave a powerful, largely unprecedented speech, which included the most candid admission we have ever seen about her current situation, saying, “We, none of us. will live forever “.
These seven words may be the simple truth, but given recent events, they are no less frightening.
For most of the past two weeks, the courtiers have been trying to navigate the biggest health crisis in the ruler’s nearly 70-year reign, with the issue of Her Majesty’s mortality looming very ominously overhead. Buckingham Palace.
The sight of the Queen using a cane, and the news that she had agreed to forgo her evening cocktail for the sake of her health, originally set off alarm bells.
Then, on October 20, it was announced that she was withdrawing from a tour of Northern Ireland, followed, in quick succession, by a secret night in the hospital that courtiers had tried to cover up, by footage. official release documents that showed what a bruise looked like on his forearm.
Finally, over the weekend, Buckingham Palace announced that it was canceling Her Majesty’s engagements for the next two weeks, including her participation in the Festival of Remembrance, on the advice of her doctors, as she needed to rest.
In short, things are looking increasingly worrisome for a woman who, with just a few years to hit triple digits, still rides ponies, drives and works every day.
And it is in this context that we have today’s video, a powerful and unusually emotional plea for action on climate change and which will most likely join the list of his other most famous speeches. (For example, the 1947 one, broadcast from South Africa, to mark her 21st birthday, in which she pledged to “I declare to all of you that all my life, whether long or short, will be devoted to your service âor her powerful message in April of last year, in which she invoked the words of Lady Vera Lynn and said to a bruised world,â We ââwill meet again. âSomeone from does anyone else need a handkerchief after this time?)
Regarding this kind of addresses, today’s one was hardly long, at just over four minutes, but what really sets it apart is the fact that it is one of the most personal and charged messages she has sent during her royal career.
She invoked the memory of Philip, not only through his pin of choice and the tender photo by his side, but by calling him “my dear late husband” and speaking of his decades-long work on the “challenge” of the ‘environment.
She also took the very unusual step of offering rare public praise for her family’s efforts, stating: from our oldest son Charles and his oldest son William. I couldn’t be prouder of them.
However, what is very significant here is that there has been no ambiguity, no diplomatic tiptoes as to why 120 of the world’s most powerful men and women are now gathered in Scotland in his message. On the contrary, the Queen made no effort, urging the great and the good to “rise above the politics of the day and achieve a real sense of the state”.
More broadly, this speech constitutes the most direct and forceful insertion of the monarchy and the crown on a subject which, not so long ago, would have been considered uncomfortably political and therefore a no-go zone. absolute right for Her Majesty.
In contrast, the last of these UN-organized climate talk-a-thons was held in Madrid in 2019. And back then? Buckingham Palace has not made any comment via an official press release or statement on the events. That same day it ended, and as the world tried to determine what, if anything had been achieved, Her Majesty presented a medal of poetry.
But things have changed – markedly.
The question here is whether the Queen’s outspoken intervention on Tuesday reflects how pervasive and essentially apolitical the climate crisis has become? Or does this moment more accurately reflect the fact that she is nearing the end of her reign and is driven by a growing sense of urgency to play her part while she still can?
Is this speech really an admission, as sad and inevitable as it may be, that there is little time left to make an impact?
If so, that would be an exciting prospect.
Throughout his reign, Her Majesty religiously adhered to long-established precepts of what was a territory a crowned Head of State could easily enter and ruthlessly stayed away from anything that bordered on even of far from the subject of controversy or division. His job was to stay royally above the fray and project a permanent Sphinx-type impenetrability onto the kind of questions that consumed Westminster.
So, have we just seen, with today’s video, the very first sign of an erosion of that lifelong commitment? With finite time remaining, do we see the queen, even marginally, coloring outside the lines?
As with his wonderfully devious spit moves in 2018 with Trump, when your face is on the currency, you can play by your own rules.
Long live the queen – literally.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a number of major Australian media titles.