Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

In sickness and health, HM is a role model

The Queen leaving hospital
The Queen leaving hospital

 No matter about the internet haters, the Queen’s brief stay at King Edward Hospital in London with a stomach bug is a matter of concern for all of us.

Whether or not you’re a monarchist, the blunt fact remains that after the Queen awaits the grisly prospect of King Charlie — in all his tree-hugging, opinionated, extravagant glory. And if that doesn’t give you pause for thought, it should. Le Deluge, indeed ...

The Queen has been a great role model. As Philip Larkin said: In times when nothing stood

But worsened or grew strange

There was one constant good

She did not change

Except, of course, she did change. As we all have to. Behind the determination to keep the show on the road no matter about the antics of some of her children, HM has proved that she knows instinctively when to embrace the times. Out of step over the death of Diana, she has subtly grown into the mother of the nation. The affection displayed towards her last year wasn’t simply empty jingoism. There was also a deep appreciation for Elizabeth the woman.

We know she is not perfect. In the requirement to be a symbol she is perhaps occasionally emotionally out of step with a touchy-feely age. Then again the self-control, restraint and sense of enigma also fits perfectly with a monarch who has always done her duty to the nation whether that be in the daily grind of opening hospitals (did she catch her bug on a visit to one last week?) or pretending to enjoy all those Royal Variety shows or making history as she did during her visit to the Republic.

The Royal Family has recovered much of the ground that it lost in the Nineties. This is not the achievement of an institution, a coterie of politicians and advisers or her children. No, this is the achievement of a remarkable lady. Typically robust, she’s left hospital within a day.

 Which kind of sums her up — hardy, disliking fuss and determined to do her duty. She’s an example to all of us.

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