It is a time of mourning. Revering our Queen we don our ‘nighted colours’ and are silent. More than grief, we sense exposure. It is, to cull an old image, as though the great oak in the garden had been felled. We see further into nothing. We rather preferred the foliage, the depths of the canopy as it warped and twined. We feel a little speechless, having—
… that within which passeth show,
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
For she was the exemplum: coat of blue endurance and hat of pink continuity. Impartial to the point of impassive, she was a walking cliff of Dover, with one waving glove for a gull. It was her only flappable part.
Idiomatically, we lead by example when we do not with words. Yet, if it was not what the Queen said, neither was it what she did. It was what she did not say that defined her: seventy years of honed taciturnity, from which her successors and advisors learned so little. Recall Charles and Diana’s televised tiff, Andrew’s crass self-exculpations, Harry and Meghan’s savage victimhood and celebrity sorrow. Think of Johnson’s mockery of President Trump, Blair’s saccharine sermon on the ‘People’s Princess’ (a performance worthy of an Anthony)—or the marital tattle that earned him the Literary Review’s ‘Bad Sex’ nomination. Compare Major’s pensioned sniping at the Eurosceptic constituency, or Theresa May’s valedictory tears. Indeed, her weekly audience with the Queen, quipped Mrs. May in her Commons encomium, was the one meeting she knew ‘would not be briefed out to the media.’ Verbum sat.
We are conscious, then, of what we ought not to say. Great events should be viewed ‘in awe’, as Nietzsche says, not ‘assessed in a moment.’ Yet just as loyalty, when blind, can fall from virtue, naïveté may be near to vice. We should not be conscripted into sentiment as the Queen was press-ganged into the sanctification of Diana or—during the corona scare—of the Left’s bloated idol, the NHS. Her Majesty’s vespers applause for a health service lately anointed by The Guardian as the national ‘religion’ constituted not only a partisan gesture, but a weakness.
So we mourn, but, when the dust settles, should not gloss our Monarch’s failings, or the precarious state in which she leaves her country. If it was her misfortune that her reign coincided with the cultural revolution and what Peter Hitchens has called the ‘abolition of Britain,’ nonetheless it was rubber-stamped by royal compliance—winked at, indeed, by the very decorum which conservatives admire.
The British constitution supposes a delicate balance between monarch and parliament. This means the monarch’s authority must be capable of a rare assertion, at critical junctures; and if, in the last decade, two such have arisen, it is testimony, perhaps, to the mood of permanent crisis the media has fomented. Following the 2016 EU referendum, legal, parliamentary, and media machinations earnestly threatened a second referendum, even an annulment of the first: a breach both of parliamentary promise and public trust. So divided was the nation, and so uncharted the territory, it warranted, at the least, a royal rebuke. Yet the Queen remained tight-lipped.
But that was as nothing to the constitutional and moral shambles of 2020-22, when, in the name of hygiene, a welter of ‘emergency’ measures abolished, in an hour, those old-fashioned freedoms of speech, worship, and assembly (unless one happened to be an environmental, sexual, or race revolutionary). Terrorised by unprecedented propaganda, British subjects became British submissives. Not only were they placed under a form of house-arrest, but, adding injury to insult, and in violation of both the Nuremberg Code and the Hippocratic Oath, Her Majesty’s Government pressed on, and into, them an experimental gene ‘therapy,’ the untherapeutic effects of which are increasingly in evidence outside the stranglehold of ‘Big Tech’ and the legacy media.
The corona scare has been a national disgrace. Write its history and you blot the copybook—and darken the reign. But silence is not always dignity. Soon, even conservatives will have to ask some unsentimental questions. Where was the royal displeasure when most needed? Where was that counterweight to political power? ‘Locked down,’ is the answer, applauding her conquerors and commending the ‘vaccine’ to the nation. Indeed, the new King went further. In partnership with the WEF, he used the moment to announce the ‘Great Reset.’ The virus was, he declared, an ‘opportunity’ for ‘action at revolutionary levels and pace’: a revolution, presumably, with little time for sovereign nations or their kings.
The image of our gagged Sovereign, seated alone, at her husband’s shrunken funeral, as though contagious to herself, was not just a personal humiliation but a strange travesty: a nail—perhaps final—in the monarchical coffin. Those who value sovereigns should not, for once, follow her lead. If decorum is quiescence, they must put it aside. They must see the royal reticence, this time, for what it was: pusillanimous self-censorship, which naïveté and old age can scarcely excuse. It is a cursèd spite—and should shame republicans—that it falls to a monarchist to say so.