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Aisle Seat: The Queen’s Long Goodbye

By Naomi Serviss / New York City




Her Majesty’s death on September 8th

was a knockout blow

despite its anticipation.

Granted, the Queen was ancient,

but she looked so good!

Not exactly robust, but spry

for a woman in her 90s.

The world’s reaction

was a mixed bag

of tender tributes

and accusations of murder.

Two days before,

she had warmly welcomed

the shiny new Prime Minister, Liz Truss.

The Queen had looked frailer then,

but impeccably (as expected),

seamlessly tailored,

wearing expensively sensible black shoes.

Beaming her trademark smile.

No one has worn rainbow colors–

tangerine, magenta, seafoam,

golden yellow, fuchsia–

more elegantly.

The Queen power-dressed

for every occasion.

I always wondered

how many Corgi hairs

had to be plucked

from her royal hem every day.




Death is inevitable,

at 96 or before.

But Queen Elizabeth II’s demise

seems to have occurred


in a cruel mirage blink.

Between the time it takes

to inhale and exhale.

Now that the funeral spectacle

has been etched

in history’s great books,

it seems opportune

to examine our fascination

with this centuries’-old traditon.

Lest we forget,

their royal ancestors

exploited, oppressed and colonized lands

they had no business

mucking about in.

Traumatized generations

of conquered victims

do not easily forgive

their enemies.

A royal comeuppance

is blowing in the wind.

The constitutional monarchy

seems so Monty Pythonesque.

Outdated and ridiculous.

And still,

I remain mesmerized.

We Boomers reveled

in Princess Diana’s spotlight,

some identifying with the 19-year-old

under her mother’s thumb,

marrying an older royal fussbudget mama’s boy

(grapevine rumors).

It was both dreamy and doomed.

Who knew Di had an eating disorder?

Who knew the extent of

Charles’ fealty to Camilla?

Now our eyes turn towards

Harry and William’s thawing relationship,

knowing both Diana and the Queen

would be grateful for familial rapprochement.

The two couples’

unexpected appearance together

after one of the mourning services

thrilled watchers.

The foursome greeted well-wishers

Who had brought notes and flowers,

and chatted warmly with the crowd.

It was the first time

they had been photographed together

in public since Commonwealth Day

on March 9, 2020.

William extended the invite.

Royal reporters knew

it was a significant moment

in the history of the brothers,

who’ve suffered so much loss.

We marveled at how many times

Kate performed a perfect curtsy,

her slender back ramrod straight.

Wearing those pencil-thin black heels!

Meghan followed Kate’s lead

But her curtsy wasn’t as pitch perfect.

The Fab Four royals

placed flowers, notes

and the occasional Paddington Bear

on the mounting pile of mementos.

It recalled the aftermath of Diana’s death.

Impossible not to think of her,

as nostalgic images of the teenage brothers

walking behind their mother’s coffin

flashed on the screen,

juxtaposed with

real-time split-screen shots

of the brothers walking solemnly

near their father.

Well-known network broadcasters scrambled

to get the nittiest of details

of a Bizarro World

where pomp and circumstance

isn’t just smoke and mirrors.



Was Meghan really wearing

a not-entirely-concealed microphone

under her dress?



We’re serving as historical

(sometimes hysterical)

witnesses to this curious mix

of mourning and celebration.

“Pageantry as an intoxicant,”

as one talking head

on cable TV called it.

Odds are Queen Elizabeth II

would have gleefully approved

of the Firm’s Funeral Playbook Protocol.

Millions of viewers were super-glued

to the constant online livestreaming

listening to the broadcasters’ endless patter.

Not everything went like clockwork.

King Charles III

failed to control his anger

when he scrawled the wrong date

on an official document,

then complained about a leaky pen.

Camilla silently came to the rescue,

whisking away the offending tool.

Clearly, the Queen was both

venerated and despised.

For the Queen’s June Jubilee this year,

she filmed a scene with

Paddington Bear

and pulled a marmalade sandwich

out of her purse, smiling broadly.

She was a hoot, playing pranks

And joking around.

So I’ve read.

We’ve been weaned

on the soapiest opera of our time.

The Royals.

The Firm.

The Crown.

Fairy dust! Hoopla! Feuding brothers!

What about the Queen’s personal fortune?

She left behind more than $500 million

in assets from her 70 throne years.

It will be passed down to King Charles III.

A $28 billion empire

that British royal family members

refer to as

“the family business.”

The processionals and funeral

have come and gone,

tears have fallen

and hopefully, fences are mending.

It would be gratifying to catch



William flashing a genuine smile

towards his younger brother.

Kate and Meghan may not be bosom buddies

but the royals are nothing

if not great public actors. 




As for the brothers’ future,

perhaps this momentous occasion

will chip away hurt feelings.

It’s been a long goodbye.

Hopefully, the traditions and rituals

will nudge the siblings

into renewing their allegiance

to one another.

It just might be the beginning

of an ever-evolving

royal friendship.

A long one.


 






Naomi Serviss is a New York-based award-winning journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Highroads (AAA magazine), in-flight publications, spa and travel magazines and websites, including BroadwayWorld.com

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