To the Editor:
As a child of an English born mother, growing up in Toronto, Ontario, I was steeped not only as a tea lover but into the British Royal family. Princess Elizabeth and her younger sister Margaret Rose were paper doll cut outs to play with as they were my same age. I envied them and their beloved corgis and charming brick live-in dollhouse. When King George and his wife Queen Elizabeth came to Toronto on a whirlwind tour of Canada in 1939, my dad and uncle hoisted me by ladder onto a rooftop to view their entourage as it passed by. Little did we realize it was to garner support from its colonies for the costly WW2 conflict to come.
One day, years later crossing Queen’s Park, in central Toronto, quite by accident came Princess Margaret, standing in an open car, to greet her sister’s subjects. I stood merely three feet away and was startled by her then beauty. She was sent on tour I suspect to recover from her sacrificed relationship to Peter Townsend, forbidden by the hierarchy of the Church of England, to marry a divorced man.
In 1953, I viewed the magnificent and moving coronation in black and white early TV days, of a very young new bride, Queen Elizabeth II. Little did we realize the length of her remarkable tenure on the English throne, nor to the decades of personal traumas and crises she would be called upon to stolidly cope with, concerning two of her four her children, Charles and Andrew.
Now her eldest is about to be crowned with much less fanfare and excitement than that generated 70 years ago by his dutiful mother. I grew up singing the then Canadian national anthem, “God Save Our Gracious King.” Upon his death it became feminized.”God Save Our gracious Queen.”
Canada, a formerly integral part of the British Empire became instead a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, an independent proud nation in its own right, singing instead “O Canada, Our Home and NatIve Land.”
Today, “God Save the King” will reverberate somewhat less enthusiastically the polls suggest, in Britain, but obviously not at all by me, a naturalized American citizen, who will have experienced in my lifetime, three English crown heads, father, daughter, and grandson.