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The Queen’s Speech

Though we don’t have a monarchy in this country, I think we have, in a subconscious way, adopted the British Royal family. In that regard, I thought the Queen’s speech on April 5, 2020, was one of the most inspiring I have seen about the need to rally and support efforts to beat the coronavirus.

Americans find something magnetic and almost magical when it comes to the British Monarchy. I can still remember my mother, in 1953, fixated around our first black and white television set (which had a rather fuzzy picture resolution that faded in and out) watching for a couple of days all of the pageantry surrounding the coronation of Elizabeth II. Elizabeth was then 26 years old. Now, she is 93, and her presence and words still draw Americans in.

So, here she was, a couple of weeks ago, alone, taking precautions because of the virus, with just one cameraman in the room, dressed plainly with a matching brooch and simple pearl necklace, looking out at the world and the British people speaking plainly about a threat which she deemed to be as serious as the one she had experienced in World War II as a young girl. Just her presence had a calming yet energizing effect.

“I’m speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time, a time of disruption in the life of our country, a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes in the daily lives of us all.”

Though not a part of the operational side of government, she was stepping up, knowing that her Prime Minister had been taken to the hospital with a COVID-19 infection, and providing encouragement as she had as a young girl during World War II to reassure and provide hope for her people. I found it to be profoundly moving.

“Together, we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it…. I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take great pride in how they responded to this challenge… that the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet, good-humored resolve, and of fellow feeling still characterize this country.”

She ended with words of hope for “all nations across the globe in a common endeavor….” “We should take comfort that while we may have still more to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again. But, for now, I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all.”

If my mother were alive, she would have been mesmerized by these words and the person saying them. She would also probably have called me or one of my siblings to find out how she could listen to the speech again and again over U-tube or some internet connection. She could never get enough of the royals.

Some of this must have rubbed off on us kids. We may not have a monarchy in this country, but, when the Queen speaks, I often feel she is speaking for me.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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