Saturday, November 27, 2010
I have never bought a copy of The Globe before except once, when I was very, very ill, but the headline screaming at me in the drugstore today was irresistible: Queen Elizabeth II has passed over her son, Prince Charles, and intends to vacate the throne in favor of her grandson, Prince William, after his marriage to Kate Middleton. Elizabeth has been Queen for nearly 60 years, since the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952, when she was 26 years old.
Her father, a second son, had become King in 1937 when his older brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated his throne rather than give up the woman he loved, a once-divorced and currently remarried American commoner, Wallis Warfield Simpson. Edward had struggled his entire life to be normal, a regular guy, as he was embarrassed by being a person requiring homage. So he was, in effect, an anti-monarchist, surely an unusual position for a member of Great Britain's royal family. Mrs. Simpson, allegedly eager to be Queen, sued her husband for a divorce so she could marry Edward, but the royal family wasn't having any of it.
The entire British government was extremely discontented and threatened to quit over the King's new policies and his politics -- his intended Queen was the icing on a very nasty cake -- and Edward was forced to either tow the line or abdicate. He chose the latter, and he and Wallis Simpson, now the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, were married.
They were exiled from England and lived most of their lives in France except for a stint in the Bahamas where he served as Governor during World War II. amid accusations that he was pro-Nazi. He reportedly told an acquaintance: "After the war is over and Hitler will crush the Americans ... we'll take over ... They [the Commonwealth] don't want me as their king, but I'll soon be back as their leader." He also told a journalist that "it would be a tragic thing for the world if Hitler was overthrown". Comments like these reinforced the belief that the Duke and Duchess held Nazi sympathies and the effect of the abdication crisis of 1936 was to force off the throne a man with extreme political views.
There has been rampant speculation about the Windsors, even rumors that Edward's mother, the Dowager Queen Mary, was told that Wallis Simpson had some sort of sexual control over Edward, and had released him from an undefined sexual dysfunction through practices learned in a Chinese brothel. Suffice to say that the royal family was not pleased. The future prime minister Neville Chamberlain wrote in his diary that she was "an entirely unscrupulous woman who is not in love with the King but is exploiting him for her own purposes. She has already ruined him in money and jewels." What I want to know is how a woman attains such powers, and how I can get some.
By all reports, their marriage was miserably unhappy, a tradition apparently followed by Prince Charles and Camilla, his longtime mistress whom he continued to see while married to Diana, and married after her death. The Queen and her consort, Prince Philip, however, have seemingly enjoyed a very happy union for many years. For the first time ever, I feel almost sorry for Prince Charles, despite his abominable treatment of Diana, by all accounts a lovely person, and the fact that he resembles a flounder.
Prince William and his fiancee are extremely popular with the British people, and the Queen has decreed that Kate will be known as Queen Catherine upon William's coronation, which is expected to take place next year.
The Globe's cover also proclaims that Cher's transsexual daughter Chastity, now her son Chaz, has grown a beard. Now THAT is the kind of news we can relate to in America.