There are two things the British are good at: fish and chips and aspic.
Since it was a little early for roasting this late Monday morning, I opted for a funeral. Speaking of which, I didn’t apply for a job with Windsor Funeral Service and I don’t intend to garden. Nevertheless, on this Monday, September 19, when the newspapers of all countries spoke in unison about the “funeral of the century,” I, for my part, experienced every possible emotion, about eight times a minute, or 480 times an hour. Tiring.
First, denial, of course. The one that has been firmly entrenched in me since September 8th. The one that sticks in my head, despite the dozens of front pages, specials, and spin-offs already on the market, because Show must go onespecially for Queen.
This is the denial of a 37-year-old woman who celebrated her grandmother’s 101st birthday the day before the Queen’s death and who opposes the principle of the death of important women in her life completely and vehemently, even symbolically as possible. Elizabeth is worried. We both had a contract: she had to live at least as long as the turtle Jonathan. She will eat away at me for almost a century, that naughty Lilibet. Queens are not scary like reptiles.
Then, of course, accepted hysteria reigned, and here I am on the last summer Monday, dressed in a black dress, putting on tights, because it’s cold and because even my legs are in mourning. And here I also look a bit like a pumpkin, dressed for a funeral (by the way, not a funeral, because it will not stand underground), which I will not go to for the simple and good reason that I do not like funerals. And it’s true that I wasn’t invited.
Charlotte and her dark hat
She will force me to do something, this Elizabeth does not care, for example, to force me to watch Mass on TV, me who has no TV and who has never gone to Mass. At that point in the ceremony, I admit, the psalms were not really mine. Cup of tea , I digress a little. Just as I nearly fell into a coma when the Queen’s favorite piper burst into Westminster. Favorite bagpipe player. Only the dead can master the oxymoron.
And then the grief returned. First it God Save Kuang (I’m slowly getting used to it, leave me alone) those tears in Charles’ eyes, the beauty of those shots taken from above, the coffin in the center, the chess tiles and the crowd of costumes all around. This view from above gave the impression that the scene was seen through the eyes of the Queen, standing directly on top, who is no doubt happy that everything is aligned, and the dahlias on her plain coffin are in the right shade.
And then there was Charlotte. Charlotte, she is 7 years old, her reasonable age, which she will remember well, I think. Charlotte and her little black dress, walking next to her brother the future king. Charlotte and her dark hat in an adult world where people get buried way too often. Charlotte was already my favorite in this cheerful family because she looked so much like a queen. Today I understand that Charlotte, even in mourning, showed us that if her great-grandmother was going to join her great-grandfather for quite some time, she embodied the continuation, but also everything that came before her. And personally, it calmed me, even better, comforted me.
I already miss the queen, but what a joy to find her again in little Charlotte’s dignity.
The Queen is dead, long live Princess Charlotte.