Queen Elizabeth II. Photo via Wikipedia

By Colleen O’Connor

American papers and pundits are overstuffed with Trump tweets, Putin barbs, and Obama’s gnashing of teeth. Sum total = childish.

Meanwhile, the European press is swamped with coverage of the “fake” Santa Claus massacre massacre in a popular Istanbul nightclub; the destruction of what once was Aleppo; the increasing mass migration of refugees—not just from the “regime change” carnage in the Middle East—but of multiple deprivations all over the world; and the latest warnings about political meddling aka cyber war “terrorism.”

Throw in the Greeks’ story of never-ending chaos, the U.K.’s Brexit from the European Union, the rise of the radical right on the continent, and the recent announcement, by a U.K. Minister, about the threat of of a chemical attack, and one can only say “Thank God” the Queen of England missed church.

The 90-year old Elizabeth II is the longest-lived Queen in history.

As the “Supreme Governor of the Church of England,” for the entirety of her 64 years on the throne, Her Majesty’s absence from church for New Year’s Day services at Sandringham was not taken lightly.

Earlier, she skipped the traditional train ride to Norfolk for Christmas Day. Instead, she flew by helicopter and avoided the church service at St. Mary Magdalene’s for the “first time in 28 years.”

Buckingham Palace insists that the Queen is suffering from a “bad cold.”

Even this “cold” has set off alarm bells.

American business sites are already writing about more than just the economic consequences.

According to the Business Insider, “to focus on the financial disruption doesn’t begin to describe the sheer magnitude of it. It will be an event unlike anything Britain has seen since the end of the Second World War. There will be trivial disruptions — the BBC will cancel all comedy shows, for example — and jarring cultural changes. Prince Charles may change his name, for instance, and the words of the national anthem will be changed, too. The British Commonwealth might even unravel completely.”

“The deaths of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother both brought on waves of public mourning and hysteria. But the Queen, due to her longevity and fundamental place atop British society, will be on a whole new level above that.”

“The vast majority of British people have simply never known life without the Queen.
It will be a strange, uncertain time.”

To which I say, “hold the horses.”

In this era of fake news, conspiracy theories, propaganda and “aliens,” I am hoping that the Queen’s loyal servants just decided to keep her away from possible harm.

Avoiding crowds, predictable ceremonies, and even a train ride—during a high-profile, celebratory season—is preeminently wise.

Such a rational explanation should be greeted with enthusiasm.

In this fragile world, the Queen of England (our former Mother Country) has been a stalwart of common sense, duty, discipline, decorum and (with the exception of the immediate aftermath of Princess Diana’s death) a very popular monarch.

She is the glue that holds the United Kingdom together.

That is not an exaggeration:

“Since ascending to the throne in 1952, the monarch has seen 13 Prime Ministers serve Britain, and lived through another 12 U.S. presidents (with number 13 on the way),” according to Business Insider.

That is called stability. Most of the Queen’s subjects have known no other ruler.

Her loss, by anything unexpected or untoward, would seriously unnerve more than just her subjects.

The palace is prepared for her eventual passing, but not anything unexpected—like Princess Diana’s death. Then the news was instantaneous, often erroneous, and impossible to control.

Much better to believe the “bad cold” will resolve itself and to thank God the Queen missed church and will carry on through another President.

Or as the then princess broadcast in 1947, on a trip through southern Africa, “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

Hold those thoughts and those horses.


Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.

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