I don’t remember finding out that Britain had a Queen. It’s one of those basic, primal facts you learn before you even enter primary school, in “My First Dictionary” books and little picture stories — this is a cat, this is a dog, and this is the Queen.
My mother didn’t either. Even my grandmother was just a bairn when Elizabeth came to the throne. Our family have lived our entire lives never knowing anything else — she seemed like such an immutable constant of British life, an unchanging, unmoving symbol of a country constantly in flux.
Of course i knew it couldn’t be forever. The Netherlands had already gone through this when Queen Beatrix abdicated and all the shops out up cheeky advertisements about the national holiday’s change from Koninginnedag to Koningsdag. But then, she abdicated, didn’t she? William-Alexander didn’t have to wait until his mother died to get her old job. Such is the unique cruelty of the situation His Majesty Charles III — a title i’ll never get used to — finds himself in now.
As Britain leaves the Elizabethan era — from the first televised coronation to a death announced over the internet, from Empire to Commonwealth, an age of immense advancement and change — and enters its third Caroline era, in this increasingly polarised and uncertain time, there is but one thing to say: The Queen is dead. Long live the King.