On witnessing the change of monarch with my children

We watch the tv, aware that we are witnessing history. We feel….

We’re not sure. The news is sudden, but we are not surprised. It is sad, but not tragic. We watch and contemplate and feel a mixture of emotions and none.

We don’t believe in the principle of monarchy or the royal family. The idea that one person or family should be elevated above the rest of us based on the actions of their ancestors centuries ago is absurd. We agree that surely no-one devising a country’s system of governance these days would include a royal family, the idea is ludicrous. Yet we have them and they exist. Our preference would be for the monarchy to be phased out or abolished, but we don’t expect that to happen any time soon, possibly not in our lifetimes. We consider whether there is perhaps slightly more chance of an independent Scotland becoming a republic. We get side-tracked by constitutional questions and feel guilty that we have forgotten that the queen has died.

The queen has always been our queen, she’s always just been there. Through the entirety of my kids’ lives, the entirety of my life and the entirety of my mother’s life. We agree it’ll be strange without her. A king? That’s weird. Yeah.

We agree that getting a new monarch is a BIG DEAL, but wonder what will actually change. We think the feel of the monarchy will change with Charles but can’t see how our daily lives will change. It’s not like getting a new Prime Minister. We’ve seen plenty of them. We watch, removed, like when there’s new US President or a new Pope. Oh, interesting, but what does he have to do with me?

We talk about how we feel when someone we know, but don’t know, dies. The 13 year old recently found herself unexpectedly upset at the passing of a youtuber that she knew of. She felt it was silly or immature to feel sad because he was, essentially a stranger. We agreed it wasn’t and that we can be just as affected by the passing of those we don’t know personally as much as those we do. I still haven’t been able (willing?) to fully address my feelings on Taylor Hawkins‘ death, but have gone through shock, sadness and am sitting somewhere near anger. We don’t really feel sad about the queen but we feel sorry for the loss that her family have felt. She was a granny and a great-granny. We think about our grannies.

We talk about the Queen and her life. The 9 year old remembers learning a lot about the Queen during the Jubilee earlier this year. If not for that, she would have struggled to pick the queen out of a line-up. To her, kings and queens are from fairy tales or Disney movies and don’t relate to real life or real people in any tangible way. She is disappointed that normal princesses don’t wear ballgowns and tiaras every day and that the king wears a normal boring suit. The 13 year old is more aware, has a current fascination with Princess Diana and has high hopes that William will abdicate and end the whole ridiculous farce. She gave a lifetime of service. So do many people. She didn’t have much of a choice. We think about people who serve through choice. We think about people who have no choices. We don’t think we’d like to be born into the royal family.

We consider that the Queen was not just our head of state but that of The Commonwealth. Yes, like the Games. What’s that again? A collection of countries that we used to own. Countries that we invaded and took over. Whose culture and traditions we obliterated and replaced with our own. Whose rulers were replaced with our royal family, portraits of the Queen hanging in rooms all over the world as a reminder. Oh, that’s weird. Yeah.

We don’t really know how to navigate this time or what we should be doing. Should we be doing something? Should we not be doing stuff? Will the schools be closed? We note that companies feel compelled to preface marketing emails with condolences and adorn their websites with tributes while still trying to sell us stuff. Why? Respect. But…? Yeah.

We watch the proclamations, ceremonies, processions and corteges. We don’t quite understand the rituals, traditions or protocols but they are compelling viewing. We feel we should watch, witness, observe. We might not be royalists but we know history when we see it. We hear all the talk of how the queen loved Scotland, the importance of the union to the royal family and we get a bit annoyed. There is a lot of god and protection of religion and they lose us. Who is paying for all this? I’m not sure. Isn’t there a financial crisis happening? Well, yes.

We notice that the house over the back with the flagpole in the garden which flies a flag for every occasion is flying the union jack at half mast. We don’t remember seeing them fly the union jack ever before.

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