Vivat Elizabeth II

Vivat Elizabeth II, Dei Gratia Britanniarum Regnorumque Suorum Ceterorum Regina, Consortionis Populorum Princeps, Fidei Defensor

And long may her reign continue!

This day marks the sixtieth anniversary of the coronation of Her Royal Highness Elizabeth II, and I would be horribly remiss both as a monarchist and as a member of the Anglican Faith of which she is Defender not to pay my respects and my well-wishes. The past sixty years have been trying for civilisation as a whole, it seems, in several different respects, but the institution of the monarchy – not just British and not even just Western but also South Asian, Pacific Islander, East and South African and Caribbean – has been a great source of continuity throughout. Far from a symbol of imperialism now so much as a symbol of the civic and cooperative direction a post-imperialism might take, the British monarchy remains rooted in the blessed pre-modern, apostolic Christian tradition of service. Queen Elizabeth II has filled this role admirably – a trained mechanic and volunteer during World War II, she has maintained her commitment to the service of her realm throughout her entire reign, as Labour leader Ed Miliband made note in his address for the occasion.

The monarchy represents, being a family with a civic function and a strong sense of its civic duties, the truest and most humane confluence of the public with the private. As such, it represents the most serious defence against the insanity of the ideology of privatisation in the Commonwealth countries. The British monarchy, as the representation and embodiment of a stable governing order, can thereby serve as a means of limiting the hubris, the avarice and the lust for dominance to which all too many in ‘republican’ orders are prone. The monarch sates an all-too-natural and -human appetite for authority without the risk of becoming tyrannical. The truly radical (in the full sense, including in the etymological sense of it being located ‘at the roots’) defence of that which is admirable in British society, and resistance to the inhuman inequalities and erosion of humanist values caused by neoliberalism, therefore lies (in good Oastlerian formation) in the Altar, in the Cottage and in the Throne.

So today I toast Queen Elizabeth II, a sovereign who embodies with aplomb British virtue and civic-mindedness with her support of charities numerous and sundry, with her dignified yet deliberately unostentatious public persona, with her grandmotherly care not only to her own descendants but also to the nation over which she presides. Britain could not have asked for – let alone elected! – a better head of state.

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