Queen Mother - Anchor in a royal storm
Tuesday, April 9, 2002
Today's funeral for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, marks the end of a long life that, more than any of the modern royals, personified the dignity and charm so beloved by millions of British subjects -- and a good many Americans as well.
While America cast off royal trappings with the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War, many of its present-day citizens still harbor a certain affection for the mysterious royal world that embodies a rich, lavish and private lifestyle most of us will never experience firsthand.
The mother of the current Queen Elizabeth had a special place in the hearts of people everywhere, thanks to her warm personality and the respect that comes from a life that exceeded a century. When she died March 30, the Queen Mother was just five days short of her 102nd birthday anniversary.
Insiders claim the Queen Mother was no saint, possessing an extravagant lifestyle and a sharp tongue while holding personal opinions on matters of foreign affairs considered by some to be bizarre. But thanks to her privacy, few outside the royal circle ever knew.
What we saw and liked about the Queen Mother was her perseverance during World War II's devastating bombing raids. The images of the queen accompanying her husband, King George VI, on tours of bomb-ravaged portions of London have endured for three generations.
For all of the silliness and failures the British royal family has endured in recent years, the Queen Mother stood as a symbol of stability and support in unsettled times, whether in war or scandal.