Today is Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday. She is the longest-reigning British monarch, surpassing Queen Victoria as of last September. Though she isn’t our queen, we Yanks find her interesting for all kinds of reasons. Certainly many of us love the pageantry associated with royals, the palaces, the golden coaches, the ancient rituals.
I’m deeply interested because the monarchy is the heart of that world of noble men and women who people my fiction. The court, those who make up the upper ranks of society, how one addresses this person, who’s a peer and who isn’t, who inherits what—learning about and trying to execute correctly these and numerous other mysteries of a completely foreign world, are part of the torture and joy of what I do.
But the royals I study are long gone. Queen Elizabeth is one of a vanishing breed. She's the living model of a monarch, the modern version, yes, apparently much saner than some of her ancestors; and there she is, on TV, still doing her Queen thing, as she’s done my whole life, with dignity and grace and what seems to be good humor.
So I thought we'd mark her milestone birthday with this set of photos of her life.
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