Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Queen Mommy Dearest

Who can take the memory of a beloved elderly woman and recast her as an idle, reactionary philistine? Why, Christopher Hitchens can. In Monday's Guardian he spares not the memory of the dear Queen Mother, recounting everything from her frequent drinking to her embrace of Chamberlain's appeasement at Munich. Reading it makes one realize just how baroque and irrelevant the British monarchy has become, even as a figurehead institution. As an American, I find the idea of a hereditary head of state (even an essentially ceremonial one) repellent. As a distant observer of island kingdom, however, I find the contemporary reaction to the royal family fascinating. As long as its members no longer have the power to blockade Boston Harbor, I say long live the House of Windsor.

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