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Queen Elizabeth wants us to know ahead of the birthday that she’s still very much around

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We don’t know if Queen Elizabeth has ever read Mark Twain. But it seems to send the same message (the actual text is disputed) that he sent to the press in 1897: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Over the past week, the Queen has suddenly gone from a regular absentee at events she never missed (such as the reading of the opening speech of a new Parliament) to a fully engaged public figure. And it looks like she’s enjoying that there’s a mischievous twinkle in the royal’s eyes as she demonstrates that she can still walk, talk and cast the magic spell of her presence.

It started with horses. Never underestimate the importance of horses in the Queen’s life. Being among them changes them. A woman who is normally economical with her emotions in public becomes very much alive in a world where she is fluent in the language of Thoroughbred breeding, training and racing.

So the Royal Windsor Horse Show, always one of his passions, gained momentum this year as a prologue to the major Platinum Jubilee events. He was standing in Home Park, not far from her apartment in Windsor Castle, but even then she wasn’t sure she was there until her Range Rover suddenly pulled into the arena for one of the first events of the week.

The passenger side window was rolled down and the monarch, making her first public appearance in a month, began chatting quietly with the other bikers. It was hesitant, like she wasn’t sure if she should go out. But she’s out, and at this point it’s important to scour the wardrobe for clues as to how the royal comeback is being orchestrated. She made her way to a seat in the stands with a cane, dressed in a dark raincoat and a scarf, something she had always preferred for rural sporting life, which served as a kind of leveller, a signal that She was different from the servants freed from palace protocols. .

It looked very different on Sunday’s show finale. It was a taste of the long-planned extravaganza, an amalgamation of Hollywood, the circus arena and a compelling national narrative that celebrates the role of equestrian sport in Britain’s imperial past. . Tom Cruise looked particularly messianic as he introduced a triumphant number titled A Gallop Through History, performed by the King’s Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery. This is not an active service unit, but a professional theatrical offshoot of the military, appearing in 19th century uniforms to perform historical tableaux.

“Prince Andrew is the curse that afflicts the family and can never be exorcised, no matter how good the show.”

This moving jingoistic performance may have helped distract people from the fact that ties between the military and the monarchy are being re-established since 150 veterans sent a letter to the Queen saying: ” Officers in the British Armed Forces must… uphold the highest standards of integrity, honesty and honorable conduct. These are standards that Prince Andrew exceeded.

But of course, Andrew is the curse that afflicts the family and can never be exorcised, no matter how good the show.

For this evening, the queen gave up the sportswear. Rather hostess a country dinner, she wore a long ice blue sequined dress covered with a gray shawl. We started to wonder what the official line that she had an “episodic mobility problem” meant. She was obviously independently mobile and conveniently used a cane.

However, none of this prepared us for the queen’s next appearance. Over the past decade, her wardrobe has been invigorated by Stewart Parvin, who encouraged her to choose bright colors for her daily engagements. The Queen never favored bloated catwalk designers, but when she was younger she turned to designers, like Norman Hartnell, who apparently made her look older than she was. Parvin does the opposite, and Her Majesty loves it. He’s a classic London bespoke tailor, as adept at making his coats as Coco Chanel.

So the Queen came to life in a lemon-yellow Parvin coat when she turned up unexpectedly at Paddington Station for the opening of the new railway that bears her name, the Elizabeth Line. The effect was instantaneous – like a cry of “I’m back”.

There were other signals to appreciate. Among those waiting to greet the Queen was Boris Johnson, her least favorite prime minister. Knowledgeable pranksters had speculated that the reason she skipped reading Johnson’s dictated opening speech at the last moment was because, seeing how childish it was, she threw it at Charles. , whose sad expression upon reading it indicated that he had caught the same scent.

By now it was obvious the monarch preferred talking to her horses much more than Johnson, and she gave him a short job at Paddington before confidently crossing the glittering hall and showing the turnstiles how to use the scanned map.

Which hands are behind this radical performance? If there’s anyone in the Queen’s sanctuary, it’s Angela Kelly, her hairdresser. As Tina Brown writes in her new bestseller, This palace papersKelly is “the last person anyone wants to attack in the palace” and is “the woman who sees the monarch pasting four times a day”.

It was Kelly who discovered and hired Parvin, as did royal milliner Rachel Trevor-Morgan. Kelly is the only one in the Queen’s circle from a working class background, the daughter of a Liverpool crane operator. Apparently, she and the queen are happily conspiring, which is reflected in the outfits that Kelly, Parvin, and Trevor-Morgan control and cobble together and set the tone for the homecoming queen.

“Viewed from the larger perspective of upcoming Platinum Jubilee blockbuster events, these three Queen appearances look like a little tease.”

Perhaps the most tantalizing speculation about the Queen’s ability to resume public appearances on her own terms concerns her participation in the Epsom Derby horse races over the big anniversary weekend. In the social hierarchy of British racecourses, Ascot is the champagne and caviar event and Epsom is the fish and chips – Londoners flock there in droves and tofs are vastly outnumbered. It’s the kind of place Kelly would like to see Her Majesty having fun.

Seen from the wider perspective of the next blockbuster Platinum Jubilee events, spanning three days in the first week of June, these three Queen appearances look like a little tease. How is their new visibility part of a test for what’s to come? We read so much about her commitment to being able to attend public events that she could previously endure – notably, she is now fit enough to maintain a daily routine that matches her own determination to stay on the throne for as long as she is able to do the job?

Meanwhile, the big reveal in all of this is that the Jubilee is partly an exercise in using history as propaganda to place the House of Windsor in the pantheon of great British monarchies. Nothing spoke of it more than the appearance of Dame Helen Mirren, who played Elizabeth I at the Windsor Horse Show. Dressed in more Lord of the Rings than Tudor garb, Mirren sang a 16th-century hymn of praise, thanking Her Majesty “for all the years you have carried our nation and been its heart and rhythm”.

It was particularly daring to give the link between Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II the appearance of institutional continuity. The virgin queen was unrivaled as a nation builder, transforming a troublesome offshore island into a dominant European power in 45 years. She left her own mission statement to remind that humility and power are not incompatible: “Though God raised me up, but I consider it the glory of my crown, which I reigned with your love , I have reason to be nothing more.” desire than to satisfy the subject, which is a duty I owe.

Long gone are the days when a British monarch had the power to keep his subjects happy. Elizabeth II at least does her best to entertain her. Queen Elizabeth wants us to know before the anniversary that she is still very much here

This article is automatically translated from the original language to your language. Do not hesitate to let us know if it contains translation errors so that we can correct them as soon as possible.

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