Probably like many of you, my timeline has been flooded with tributes & tears for the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
C.S. Lewis had an interesting reflection upon the Queen’s initial coronation back in 1953. He wrote:
You know, over here people did not get that fairy-tale feeling about the coronation. What impressed most who saw it was the fact that the Queen herself appeared to be quite overwhelmed by the sacramental side of it. Hence, in the spectators, a feeling of (one hardly knows how to describe it) — awe — pity — pathos — mystery.
The pressing of that huge, heavy crown on that small, young head becomes a sort of symbol of the situation of humanity itself: humanity called by God to be his vice-regent and high priest on earth, yet feeling so inadequate. As if he said, “In my inexorable love I shall lay upon the dust that you are glories and dangers and responsibilities beyond your understanding.”
Do you see what I mean? One has missed the whole point unless one feels that we have all been crowned and that coronation is somehow, if splendid, a tragic splendor.(Letters, 3:343)
One wonders if the Brits see Her Majesty’s passing in a different manner than Yankees. By invoking a sacramental side to coronation, Lewis reminds us of how different Anglican sensibilities in the ’50s were compared to American Evangelicalism is now. (How do Christian Nationalists feel about sacramental coronations?!)
But even more different is the contrast between British/European and American views of solidarity. Americans want to grow up believing that anyone could be President, even if as much as half the nation feels that they are represented by “not my president.” Lewis, conversely, articulates a sense that 99.9% of the realm knows they will never be royalty, yet they still have a feeling that “we have all been crowned;” that they shared in QEII’s coronation. While I would never trade our democratic republic for what Britain has, I admire this sentiment.
Now that sufficient time since Her Majesty’s passing has lapsed, and the insufferable social media posts have transpired into King Charles’ foibles, it is time to ask the most important question:
Didn’t we fight a war so that I don’t have to care about the Royals?!
With all due respect to those mourning, our independency from the British throne – refreshed as it is by the blood of patriots and, Thomas Jefferson hastily added, tyrants – means that I have the God-given liberty to turn the severest eye of apathy upon all such succession nonsense. In the name of Washington, Adams, and the Founding Fathers, I delight in my disinterest.
Besides, the only coronation I care about happened under the White Tree of Gondor, when Aragorn son of Arathorn took the Oath of Elendil in Third Age 3021: Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien. Sinomë maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn’ Ambar-metta (Out of the Great Sea to Middle-earth I am come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world).
Thanks Brian; I love the line, “I delight