Saturday, February 03, 2007

Long Live The Queen

When screenwriter Peter Morgan set out to portray Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, he depicted a distant monarch, clueless and a little appalled over the massive outpouring of grief after the death of her former daughter-in-law, Diana.

"I wrote about a cold, emotionally detached, haughty, difficult, prickly, private, uncommunicative, out of touch bigot," Morgan told Britain's Evening Standard soon after The Queen hit theaters.

Helen Mirren is The Queen

Tony Blair was the man with his finger on the public's pulse, dubbing Diana the "people's princess" and positioning himself as the lightning rod for the thousands who stood weeping outside Kensington Palace. while the queen remained locked in her Scottish castle.

What a difference a decade makes.

Much as the monarch foresaw in the film, the queen and prime minister seem to have traded places in the public's estimation in the nearly 10 years since that week after Diana's death.

Blair is struggling through his third term and battling public hostility over the Iraq war and corruption scandals. Even his party favors his departure.

The queen, meanwhile, is appreciated for the detached demeanor that has allowed her to remain on the throne for 54 years.

Many Britons look back on that week after Diana's death with a sense of perplexity.
"It did seem at the time as though the queen had missed the post-Diana mood, or underestimated it, and had been defeated by her former daughter-in-law, even in death. But now I wonder," Minette Marrin wrote in the Sunday Times recently, after seeing The Queen.

In what seems a prescient moment, Elizabeth as protrayed in The Queen warns Blair that he too might one day face accusatory headlines from the disenchanted public.

"And it will happen, Mr. Blair," she says, "quite suddenly and with no warning."

"And yes, Mr. Blair, that is what happens when you follow the directions of your friend Geroge W. Bush." dondon009

She must be doing something right: The queen has remained on the throne through 10 prime ministers and 54 years.


Spider Girl said...

I think being the Queen would be an incredibly difficult and thankless job.

I don't think any amount of jewels or expense accounts would make up for the lack of privacy or the entitlement of your own opinions.

leone said...

I'm wondering now what the removed post said - curiosity killed the Cat but I suspect it wasn't very complimentary to our Liz!!??