The King Is Dead, Long Live the Queen
|Princesss Elizabeth and her dashing consort Philip at a polo match in Kenya, just days before she succeeded to the throne in 1952.|
The 33 daughters of the Roman emperor Diocletian, cast adrift in the grey sea (after murdering their 33 dreary husbands), saw land – a white land, rising from the sea.
They scrambled ashore and found some beings more to their taste. Mating with these demons, the Emperor’s daughters bred giants. These were the first Britons, according to one legend. Some say that the queen was called Albina or Alba and the island was named Albion after her.
Medieval storytellers such as Geoffrey of Monmouth created a fistful of origin myths for Britain, trying to link this grey-green isle to more glamorous places like Troy and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
I like the idea of murderous princesses mating with monsters…
In Europe, queens no longer claim descent from gods or monsters. Their lineage is carefully traced in the Almanach de Gotha – and mostly they turn out to be German.
The United Kingdom’s own royal line – from the mists of Arthur through the solidity of William the Conqueror; the drama of the Tudors and the union with Scotland (which is another story) – has stopped and started, switched from family to family. No one even pretends it’s continuous. Our current queen came to the throne only because her uncle abdicated and her father, his younger brother, became George VI. Her uncle (a fascist sympathiser) died in 1971. Just think we might have had him…
This year, 2012, is her Diamond Jubilee.
Elizabeth II became queen on the 6 February 1952, when her father, the king died. The king was dead, long live the queen. Her actual coronation did not take place until June 2 1953, but you don’t mess about with regnal succession. As soon as he snuffed it, she was in.
Just in case you were wondering whether astrology works. Here’s the key transit for that day, 6 February 1952. Uranus, the god of change, crossed the United Kingdom’s MC and opposed its Sun at 10° Capricorn – exact to the degree. Change…
And a queen, you ask? Venus was at 11° Capricorn on the day, conjuncting the UK sun.
I’ll be writing in more detail about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee between now and June.