On April 21, 2018, Queen Elizabeth II turned 92. Eleven years older than Queen Victoria at the latter’s death, Her Majesty has exceeded both Victoria’s (reigned 1837 to 1901) and George III’s (1760 to 1820) tenures on the throne, having ascended at the death of her father in 1952. When she came to the throne, Churchill was Prime Minister, Truman president, and Stalin still master of Moscow – while Britain yet laboured under wartime rationing. The British and French Empires yet existed, and the new Queen reigned not only over Great Britain and its many colonies, but Canada, Australia, New Zealand (as she still does, and Pakistan, South Africa, and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Elvis was not yet on the scene, there were no hippies, and the American South was still legally segregated. Pius XII was Pope, the Latin Mass reigned unchallenged (even the rites of Holy Week were unaltered), and Anglo-Catholicism appeared to be still on the road to triumph. C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot, Dorothy Sayers, and Dom Gregory Dix were all alive and working (although the learned Benedictine would die a few months after the accession). In so many ways, Her Majesty is a living link with all that went before – the last grownup, as it were, and the one constant in an age of flux. Alas, desegregation and the advances in medicine are among the few things one can say are truly better to-day. No one much under 65 years old can remember her father. Continue reading
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