Today, Queen Elizabeth II will become the longest reigning crowned head in British history, surpassing Queen Victoria’s rule of 63 years and 216 days. During that time she has always, ALWAYS tried to serve Britain in the best was she could. Personally, I think the monarchy is a good thing in general, acting as a kind of charismatic mega-fauna for British tourism (although some disagree), and I think Queen Elizabeth has been one of the least selfish and most service-oriented sovereign in England’s history.
In contrast, David Starkey has been slagging her off, claiming that she has “done and said nothing that anybody will remember”. Well, let’s just see about that, shall we.
First, David Starkey is far from an unbiased source for ANY historical quote. He is a self-described “all-purpose media tart” who sensationalizes history when it suits him while decrying the sensationalism of history from the other side of his mouth. He is also decidedly biased against women, crowned or uncrowned. As I have written about before, “Starkey has publically complained on the record about “feminized history” because it turns “proper history” into a “soap opera”. When “feminized” is used as a pejorative term about perceived feminine-and-thus-deviant scholarship then that is obviously equating women with something worse or lesser than the ‘norm’ of masculinity – and that is practically a textbook example of sexism. He also paints Anne Boleyn as culpable for her own death, since he gives her the “credit” for “having turned” the Sweet Henry VIII into a Monster Tyrant.” David Starkey claimed that Moreover, this is not the first time he has verbally denigrated Queen Elizabeth II; in 2007 he called her a poorly educated housewife because he thought she didn’t understand the glory of an exhibition that David Starkey curated. Maybe she just wasn’t that into David Starkey?
Secondly, Queen Elizabeth II has done a few things that will make her stand out, other than being the longest reigning queen in history that is. For example, she was Britain’s stiff upper lip in World War II. She stayed in London when other kids her age were being evacuated in an attempt to keep them alive. The “queen remains the only female member of the royal family to have entered the armed forces and is the only living head of state who served in World War II … Elizabeth—then an 18-year-old princess—joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II. Known as Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor, she donned a pair of coveralls and trained in London as a mechanic and military truck driver”. When Britain was still up the creek materials-wise after WWII, she bought the fabric for her wedding gown with ration coupons she had saved up, rather than pulling rank and demanding some silk. She was also the first head of state to use email, sending a message over ARPANET in 1976. She’s been in love with the same man since she was 13 years old and actually has a royal marriage that works. In 2011 she was the first monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland since it won it’s independence from Britain. She was “the first monarch to circumnavigate the globe”. In 1986, she became the first British monarch to visit China. She has, in essence, she have worked her royal tail feathers off to usher the monarchy into the modern computing age and has managed to remain relevant. That is no small beer.
That’s just some of the things she’s done. In terms of the things she has said … well, she said it best in her 21st birthday speech:
“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and to the service of our great Imperial Family to which we all belong.”
Unlike many other heads of state, she’s kept her promise.