I adore the Queen and I just can’t help it.
Perhaps this is due to the excellence of the Royal vocal cords. They produce a sound so pure that even phrases such as ‘Annus Horribulus’, that would sound smutty uttered by anyone else, issue from the Royal mouth untainted. Or, perhaps I hold Elizabeth Regina in such lofty esteem because I mistook her for a relative for the first six years of my life. I thought Aunt Liz to be the most lovely scion of my family tree and kept a picture of her in a cream straw hat set with beige trim. I knew no-one calm enough to team cream with beige and I was rather smitten with her restraint.
Why do I really adore Her Most Excellent Majesty? I have been affording the matter of my affection thought on the eve of her birthday weekend. First, it must be said, she has effortlessly done many odd things. These include introducing an original, if unpopular, breed of dog known as the Dorgi. (N.B. The Dorgi’s origins were possibly unplanned and unfortunate. Although there are eight known Dorgis in the world, the breed was reportedly started when one of ER’s corgis had its way with a dachshund named Pipkin that belonged to Princess Margaret). Further, she has owned a bull elephant named Jumbo AND she is a trained mechanic who worked on heavy machinery during World War II. What a gal.
Perhaps it is Liz’s shopping refinement that causes me to love her so. As a shallow person, I am easily impressed by those who acquire and, moreover, know how to acquire Lovely Things. And HM knows, perhaps better than any living being, how and where to shop. There are those satisfied many who join the queues at hypermarkets with 500 grams of beef in basket. Then there’s Liz who has, somehow, known all her life that if Spag Bol is on the menu, the ONLY place to acquire the requisite premium hamburger is Cobb of Knightsbridge. Similarly, she knows where to go to get the best spectacles ( Dispensing Opticians Dollond & Aitchison), stationery (Frank Smythson) and Bagpipes (Hardie R G & Co, naturally).
Naturally, Maj knows where to purchase a quality handbag. And perhaps at last the good craftspeople of Launer S & Co (London) Ltd begin to provide a clue as to the Great Lady’s appeal. Please, allow One to explain.
According to Buck House press guff, the most frequently asked question of Her Majesty by her subjects is: What DO You Keep In Your Handbag? The official answer always is: HM, who leaves all money matters to the Privy Purse, carries only spectacles for reading her speeches in the ever-present bag.
A lie! The Queen is a woman. Ipso facto she has crap in her handbag. Her consistent denial of female clutter underscores the mystery essential to her role.
Always present at the monarch’s elbow is this reminder that she is Woman enough to need a bag full of used bandaids, kleenex and lipsticks past their best-before date. Yet she is Monarch enough never to divulge these contents.
I most admire the lady who has had the same mints in her purse since her silver jubilee but has never publicly chewed on one. A woman who can refrain from fiddling about in her handbag for that long has earned the title Defender of the Faith and a place in my heart. I am down with the Maj.