A little royal dignity

Ahem: Dear Your Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth The Second of the House of Windsor…

Oh, forget it. We both know that I’m not fond of that pompous nonsense. Let me try again.

Dear Liz:

Greetings from Canada! We’ve all seen you on the news a lot lately, smiling and waving and not saying anything about Harry and Meghan. But I’d rather not start there.

How are the kids these days? How is Charles? And Edward? And Anne? How is Andr—-oops. My apologies. Let me try again.

Are you well? I’ve been worried about you. Time and tide wait for no man, and no monarch, and it seems that you may finally be slowing down at the ripe old age of 93. My wife Cathy and I found that you were speaking a little more slowly during your most recent televised Christmas message. Cathy’s late mother was fond of your Christmas messages, so we watch them every year to honour her memory.

Besides, even from this side of the pond, I can tell that it’s not an easy time to be the Queen right now. Britain is at a turning point in its long and storied history, and it took a hard right turn with the election of your buffoonish Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to a majority government that guaranteed the completion of an agonizing four-year process of removing the country from the European Union.

The resulting measures regarding mobility of Europeans between your nation and others has fed into the most hostile corners of your populace, giving them a self-appointed soapbox from which to spew hatred, racism and xenophobia. You don’t get to see this from Windsor Castle. You’re quite lucky in that regard.

But over here in Canada, we pity you, Liz. The smiling face that has looked back at us from our money, our stamps and our TV screens for nearly seven decades appears harried and weary these days. On top of everything else, I imagine Phillip’s recent health issues are weighing on you.

And then there’s the whole Harry and Meghan thing. Try to be realistic about it Liz, sometimes, the grandkids and their in-laws move away. I personally have two first cousins living in California, two more living in Alberta, a third in Toronto, two in Montreal, and several in Halifax and the surrounding area. And I consider myself one of the lucky ones, we’ve got families here in Cape Breton that have two or three generations of offspring living in Western Canada. It happens. You’ll get over it.

Oh, yes, that whole stepping-away-from-the-monarchy business. Trust me, that could be a blessing in disguise for all of you. I know this might come as a surprise to you, but a lot of us commoners in the Colonies don’t really get the point of the monarchy and the privilege and entitlement that comes with it.

Some folks around here regularly make the painful choice between paying for groceries or paying their heating bills. If health care issues arise, we often can’t get to a local emergency room before it closes for the weekend (yes, that happens a lot, Liz), and if we have to make the three-hour trip to Halifax for serious medical attention or surgery, some of us can’t even do that because we can’t afford a car.

So you’ll forgive us, Liz, if we aren’t cheering a little bit at the idea that a young married couple feels it’s more worthwhile to pursue actual careers and put in the work to pay their own bills, as opposed to having all their problems addressed for their entire lives because one of them happened to be born into the right bloodline.

To that end, I’ll close with the suggestion that perhaps it would be best for all of you if you gave up the palaces, servants, and multi-million-dollar trappings that go with being the British Royal Family. If you’re looking for some good publicity, you could do worse than scarfing down bangers and mash at a Liverpool pub or enjoying fish and chips wrapped in a newspaper from a food truck in York, if it meant that your own people didn’t have to dream of living in a castle – or, literally, anywhere – while they’re huddling on street corners on a cold winter’s night.

Give it some thought, Liz. And consider yourself lucky. I started writing this column with the intent of insisting the monarchy be entirely dismantled. That may be happening, bit by bit, without a formal decree. But if you all followed the same route as the former Duke and Duchess of Sussex, you could restore true dignity to the royal system – and perhaps offer a little dignity to the millions who still consider themselves your loyal subjects.

Tally ho, pip pip… Adam