Who really runs this place?! And why do I live in a country where I know so little about the government, its laws, and my relative role within this play? I heard a rumor that they keep the Queen around because she brings in so many tourists each year, but I am intrigued by the general attitude Londoners have about their government leaders and politics in general.
The United Kingdom, comprising England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, is governed by a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. London is the capital and home to the parliament as well as the current reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor II. (Her reign began when she was merely 25 years old; she had a four year old child–and I have recurrent nightmares about losing track of my baby, which I do not yet have. Thank heavens I am not responsible for millions of people.) I still don’t necessarily understand what the Queen actually does. I think her purpose is to regularly give politicians the stink eye to remind them about the seriousness of their post and the needs and desires of the people they represent. I imagine for them it’s kind of like knowing their mom (or grandmother) is always watching. The Prime Minister is the head of the executive branch of government, similar to a U.S. President, except that I think I understand that the Prime Minister is appointed by the monarch depending on which party is the largest in parliament. Members of parliament, however, are elected directly by the people. I think.
Queen Elizabeth is also the monarch of 16 other commonwealth realms; I believe that there are figures to represent her among those governments though the Queen is reported to remain extremely knowledgeable and active in her duties, though she officially represents the people and rarely expresses personal opinions on issues. I am quite surprised at how much admiration I am beginning to develop for the Her Majesty–not necessarily, yet, understanding the role of a monarch in general–but for her strength and sense of duty. Of course, to know her seems impossible. You may piece together what is said by those who deal with her directly and infer what she might be like through the studying of her many speeches… You can take into account the appearances she chooses to make, her public choices, and foreign relations actions–but rarely does the Queen herself speak candidly or personally.
I tend to operate under the belief that we are more alike than we are different. Though I have never been royalty, I have been a girl all my life. She may be made of iron and she may have been bred for serious responsibilities from the very day she was born. Based on my own disposition, though, I hope that Queen Elizabeth is just Elizabeth to someone–someone who knows her completely and loves her. Really loves her.
Is it a sign that I am old and growing motherly when I start thinking about Her Majesty as someone I should care for personally? And if I am, in fact, growing older–shall I expect wisdom to visit soon?