"". The End of an Era: Queen Elizabeth II | Is This Mutton?

Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

Wednesday 14 September 2022

The End of an Era: Queen Elizabeth II

 & Link-Up

Is This Mutton the London style blog gives a personal view on the reign and significance of Queen Elizabeth II

Dear friends. I'm writing this the day after our dear Queen died. As you read it, I am away in the Lake District so I prepared my post in advance, and wanted to reflect on her life and what she meant to me and the rest of the UK. 

I was in London Liverpool Street station, waiting for the 13.33, when I saw a text from my mum warning me that the Queen was in a bad way.  I immediately went to Twitter and my heart sank when I saw the senior royals heading for Balmoral, because that made clear the severity of the situation.  Tears were spontaneously dropping down my face and a couple of people looked at me, puzzled. 

When the announcement came, at 18.30, John and I both burst into tears as Huw Edwards gave the news, sounding choked up himself. 

When I was a teenager and young woman, the Queen scarcely crossed my radar.  I remember the Silver Jubilee mainly because I was the village carnival queen - I don't remember what the Queen did for that occasion. I read later that there was a lot of trepidation about the Silver Jubilee because the royal family's popularity was at an all-time low. This was prior to the days of Diana and Fergie.  When they emerged, I was enthralled by them and watched their weddings with huge interest. 

It's been in the last 20 years that I've realised how important the Queen was for Britain, and the selfless contribution she gave us as our servant. 

The Glamorous Young Queen 

Aged just 25 and on holiday in Africa with Prince Philip, her life changed forever when she received word in 1952 that her father, George VI, had died. Neither she nor her father, then Duke of York,  had expected to reign, but this was forced by the abdication of Edward VIII because he wanted to marry Mrs Simpson. The Queen Mother apparently never forgave him or his wife because her husband Bertie was not physically strong and had a strong stammer. 

The official coronation was held on 2 June 1953. 

The young Queen was slim and curvaceous with a handsome husband, and she wore the latest fashions. Britain was emerging from wartime austerity in 1947 when the Queen married Prince Philip. Nonetheless, her wedding dress, created by Norman Hartnell, was made from ivory silk satin, encrusted with 10,000 seed pearls, and embroidered with star lilies and orange blossoms. It cost £30,000 (about $37,000) and took seven weeks to make.

Queen Elizabeth II in her wedding dress

Her coronation gown was also made by Hartnell and took eight months of research, design, workmanship, and intricate embroidery to complete. It featured the floral emblems of the countries of the United Kingdom and those of the other states within the Commonwealth of Nations.

Sir Norman Hartnell died in 1979. He gained the Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II in 1940. Princess Beatrice also wore a dress designed for Queen Elizabeth by Hartnell for her wedding in 2020.

Sir Norman Hartnell, Dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II

In a speech on her 21st birthday, in 1947, the Queen pledged: 

"I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong".

Our Colourful Queen

Over the years the Queen developed a very strong sense of her own style. She wore primary colours at her public engagements to make her stand out. She was very loyal to certain brands, namely Launer for her handbags - she had more than 200 - and Anello & Davide for her shoes, wearing the same style for 50 years.

A gorgeous book by Sali Hughes, "Our Rainbow Queen" features dozens of her outfits.

Queen Elizabeth II shares a joke with Meghan Markle

Life was Not Always Easy for The Queen

Anti-monarchists spend a lot of time decrying the Queen's wealth. To me, it was tax payers' money well spent in terms of the stature and celebrity that the Queen's reign brought to the UK. Seeing the thousands of people turning up to mourn at the gates of Buckingham Palace, it was clear that she united all factions of society. 

More importantly she helped to set a barometer for life because she lived a good life, guided by faith and duty. 

Queen Elizabeth II's life was not always easy. She has been criticised for leaving the young children Charles and Anne at home for months when she visited the Commonwealth. She had to deal with an attempted kidnapping of Princess Anne;  an intruder in her own bedroom; a fire at her beloved Windsor Castle and the acrimonious divorces of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, not to mention the latter's disgrace for associating with Jeffrey Epstein. There was the death of Princess Diana, and The Queen, comforting the young princes at Balmoral, was publicly reproached by Prime Minister Tony Blair for not going to London.  

Then there were the grievances of the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk (which never cease), and the trials of her sister, Princess Margaret. Plus the "hiding away" in psychiatric hospitals of a few close relatives to the Queen Mother.  A lot of this has been documented in The Crown, but please note the drama takes a lot of dramatic licence! 

Throughout it all the Queen was resilient and stoic, finding solace in her faith, horse racing and her corgi dogs, as well as the support of her rock, Prince Phillip. 

Grief is the Price We Pay for Love (Queen Elizabeth II)

The second great Elizabethan Era is over.  Queen Elizabeth II's long reign of 70 years and 214 days meant she was the backdrop to nearly all of our lives. I wasn't born when she became Queen. All my grandparents and three of my great grandparents thrilled to the spectacle of her coronation, although I doubt if any of them had their own TV for this, the first major televised event. 

My late father and elder brother also knew her as the constant in their lives. 

I find it very difficult to look at the picture of her taken just two days before her death, when she waited for the arrival of the new Prime Minister Liz Truss. Ninety-six, still working and still mustering a broad smile,  although to me and many she looked thin and frail. We always knew she would die, but we hoped she would somehow be immortal. Now we grieve her death, and as a nation we are entirely unprepared.

I like to look at pictures where she was laughing. We only saw the mischievous side of her personality in the last couple of decades. In particular I love this photo of her being surprised by Prince Phillip in Grenadier Guard uniform. Now she and Phillip are reunited.

Queen Elizabeth II stifles a laugh as the Duke of Edinburgh surprises her in a Grenadier Guards uniform

Queen Elizabeth II joking with King Charles III

I'd love to hear your thoughts and reminiscences on The Queen in the comments. 

Sharing this post with: On Mondays We Link Up at Glass of Glam, Top of the World Style at High Latitude Style, Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #SpreadTheKindness  and #Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Style with a Smile  at StylesplashTFF at Doused in Pink,Confident Twosday at IDoDeclaireRena at Fine Whatever,, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style, Talent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling Boomer, Link Up Pot Pourri at My Bijou LifeTraffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Fabulous Fridays at Lucy Bertoldi, Friendship Friday at Create with Joy, OMHGWW at Oh My Heartsie Girl , Trend Spin at The Fashion Canvas

Now it's time for the weekly link-up. 

Last Week's Favourites

How I Travelled to the Other Side of the World With Only Carry-On Luggage by Australian blogger Deb of Deb's World - and for a month! Boy did she do well. Here she is with granddaughter Dottie in England, who she last saw as a tiny baby.

Walk on the Wild Side by the ever colourful Katie of Hello Katie Girl. 

Pantone Fall 2022 Color Palette 2022 - 23, by Jess of Elegantly Dressed and Stylish. I love to see the color predictions for the new season, although as a newly rated spring I'm not overly excited about the line-up, except for Waterspout which I think is probably the only spring color I'd wear (Samoan Sun, Orange Tiger and Caramel Cafe probably pass as spring colors). The predictions for London from Pantone are slightly different and can be seen here

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