“Long Live our Noble Queen.” So says the Royal Australian Anthem, which contrary to myth, Australians may sing whenever they wish. The description, “noble” could not be more accurately used than in relation to Elizabeth II. Indeed nobility permeates our Royal Family, and this is being increasingly recognized against all the plans of the commentariat. This was seen especially in the United States when it was announced that Prince Harry would go with his men to Iraq. A comparison was immediately made between our Royal Family and America’s aristocratic families. This Royal willingness to serve marked the life our beloved King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother. It marked the life of Prince Philip, and of Lord Mountbatten. Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and now the Princes William and Harry have shown the same nobility. Service, that most noble of virtues, once permeated Australia especially as we emerged from the hard won victory of the Second World War. Those at school at this time will remember how, rather than our rights, we were trained into accepting our responsibilities. We see this sense of service in its noblest context in the countless memorials across our great Commonwealth which record the valour of those many Australian men and women who fought and who died for “God, King and Country.” This sense of service, and not material wealth is the measure which we can see the greatness of a nation and its leaders.
The very nobility which is at the essence of the character of Elizabeth II was something which Americans immediately recognized during her latest visit. Men bowed and women curtseyed –purely voluntary gestures now and not only in this republic, but done so in Virginia and in Washington in recognition of someone with qualities both rare and worthy of emulation. American politicians were as courteous as the people they represent. This was in sad contrast to the disgraceful behaviour of some Australian politicians who seem to think a Royal Homecoming is the time to engage in infantile and insulting behaviour.
The consequence of this American recognition of nobility was that from the beginning to the end the Royal Visit was a triumph. Americans were particularly eager see her. More than 20,000 put their names down for the 54 front row places for one Royal walkabout. The State Dinner at the White House was described as “the hottest ticket in town” and “the social event of the Bush presidency.”
Panels of right wing “neocons” on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox network, including the influential Weekly Standard editor Fred Barns and columnist Charles Krauthammer were for once at a loss to explain this phenomenon. They were astounded that polling indicated The Queen had an over 80% approval rating in the USA – more than any other public figure. Unfortunately they failed to see the nobility that the rank and file saw, and fumbled awkwardly to find the explanation which had not eluded the people.
This is indeed a glorious reign, made so by the character and principles of Elizabeth II. Long may she reign.