Death – from a royal perspective

The English language is full of ways to soften the blow of reality. The euphemisms for death are multitudinous: passed on, departed, kicked the bucket, dropped off the perch and gave up the ghost are to name but a few. Some appear harsher than others in image and tone. But it takes the Queen (or her speech writer) to eloquently approach this issue with panache and style.

As she celebrated her 70th year of reign, the prospect of her own demise was forefront in her thinking. She announced that when, in the fullness of time, her son Charles becomes king, she hopes that he will be as well supported as she has been. Clearly, as a 95-year-old and suffering a few health issues, the prospect of death becomes ever closer.

But what a wonderful way to describe the future event – “the fullness of time” – acknowledging both the passing of time and the inevitability of our deaths.

It must be strange to have both the responsibility of the Crown on her shoulders and the responsibility for ensuring that the monarchy continues, especially in today’s world of republicanism pushes and a decline in acceptance of privilege and entitlement. Scandals over the years have not helped but then neither has the structure of the monarchy and the advisers who have dogged the institution.

Read: Planning for a grey future

As I recall my scant knowledge of the royal family, there is a common theme that comes to mind. There was always a certain expectation that royal family members were to marry ‘the right person’, someone who would be acceptable to the public and to the royal courtiers, someone with an unblemished background or history. That emphasis probably caused heartache for Princess Margaret and, no doubt, Prince Charles.

Now even the Queen has had to acknowledge that times have changed, and she asks that her son’s wife be allowed the recognition and title of Queen Consort. Perhaps this is a move to recognise her son’s devotion to wife and country or merely a reading of the wish of the people. This would not have been acceptable 20 years ago, and this desire on the part of the Queen represents a radical departure from the narrow views of past generations.

Read: Schooling now and then

Will the public also accept this change? Countless stories and magazine articles were written about Camilla’s relationship with Prince Charles especially in the light of Diana’s subsequent death. The media obsess over Diana and her story still generates attention and money via the numerous Hollywood attempts at portraying her life.

But life has moved on for the rest of the world and for the royal family. Social mores have changed and, thankfully, for the better. It would be good to see Camilla accepted as the future king’s consort. The great pity is that they were not allowed to marry the first time around.  

Are you a royal ‘watcher’? Are you pleased that the Queen has given the nod for Camilla to be the Queen Consort? Why not share your views in the comments section below?

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Written by Dianne Motton

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