Looking back… at the Elizabeths

There’s actually an official phrase to announce the death of a British Monarch…“the demise of the King or Queen”. And it comprehensively spelled out what that entailed for the kingdom – like all appointments and court cases effectively cancelled! Of course, much of that has been whittled away since the first Queen Elizabeth – the “Virgin Queen – passed away in 1603. She’d been ruling since 1558 and it’s not surprising that she left her mark on Britain in an age when Kings and Queens had real power.
And that’s the point between Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II, ain’t it?? The one that just passed away was a nice young lady who grew up to become a nice old lady who had the perfect, phlegmatic persona to occupy a purely symbolic position. Now don’t get your Eyewitness wrong – symbols can be very powerful but – like with the Wizard of Oz – once their mundane reality becomes exposed to the subjects, it’s only a matter of time when they ask whether the symbol’s really necessary!!
The first Elizabeth personally knew of our Mudland – from Walter Raleigh who was one of her “favourites” in her Court and bestowed with many ‘favours”!! One of which (in 1584) was the archetypal “Royal Charter” authorised him to explore, colonise and rule any “remote, heathen and barbarous lands, countries and territories, not actually possessed of any Christian Prince or inhabited by Christian People”, in return for one-fifth of all the gold and silver that might be mined there. That’s the mechanism on which the entire empire – including the West Indies – was created!! Around 1600 just before she died, she Chartered the East India Company that conquered, raped and plundered India till the Mutiny of 1857.
Raleigh started out as a pioneer colonist in Virginia and rose in Elizabeth’s court. So when he secretly married one of her ladies-in-waiting no one was surprised when he and his bride were thrown into the Tower of London!! Hell hath no fury like a Queen scorned…!! He was lucky that – like Alice in Wonderland’s Red Queen – Elizabeth didn’t say, “Off with his head!!” Anyhow, after being released, he set off to find the City of Gold – Manoa – up the Essequibo River which he’d heard about!! He returned without locating the city – which became famous as “El Dorado” – after he wrote an exaggerated account of his “Discoverie of Guiana”!!
The second Elizabeth did better than her ancestor and actually visited us in Feb 1966 – just 3 months before our Independence. By then, however, she was just a figurehead – a metonym, if you will – of the Empire on which the sun was fast setting!!
The queen is dead…long live the King!!

…to the future
Whether it was sheer will power or not, surely the fact that Elizabeth II held on until she could perform her ceremonial role to acknowledge the Conservative’s nominee Truss as PM to succeed PM Boris Johnson must be remarked upon. She would’ve received the news of India – once the “Jewel of the Raj” –pippeing Britain on the economic standing sweepstakes. Passing the Prime Ministership onto Sunak might’ve been just too much!!
But now that Charles is finally “Charles III” – at 75!! – what can we expect?? Britain’s facing an economic crisis as the cost-of-living careens off the chart; the balance of payments ain’t balancing; the pound’s plunging; energy for the coming winter is up in the air and so on and so forth. The cost of the Queen’s funeral and Charles’ coronation will certainly place the question on the agenda of whether the Monarch’s even needed!!
Should we send a million-barrel tanker with oil to old Blighty for old times sake!!

…at us
Your Eyewitness relooked at a clip of Elizabeth II’s 1966 visit. The PPP had called for a boycott ‘cause they felt her government had betrayed “British fair play” – which Jagan counted on.
The PNC supporters more than made up in hysteria!!