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),
wearing expensively sensible black shoes.
Beaming her trademark smile.
No one has worn rainbow colors–
tangerine, magenta, seafoam,
golden yellow, fuchsia–
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.
of conquered victims
do not easily forgive
A royal comeuppance
is blowing in the wind.
The constitutional monarchy
seems so Monty Pythonesque.
Outdated and ridiculous.
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
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
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