They will queue for days. I will not, but I respect them for doing so. We loved our Queen and felt we were loved in turn, for all our faults. The queue is a tribute of love.
This is the turning of the ages. It passes in quiet peace, for all the trumpets and tabards and gun-salutes that herald that we are now the new Caroleans, the kingdom stands and queues quietly, grieving a loss before we celebrate.
When the first Elizabeth died it was very different. As she sickened the avaricious powers of Europe licked their lips at the thought of her heirless throne. The Privy Council and the Earls were at daggers-drawn in case one or the other betrayed the settled succession of Protestant King James, and though they need not have feared each others’ intentions, they did not trust.
Carey was ahorse within the hour of Gloriana’s last breath, in the early hours of that grim Thursday morning: he spurred his horse from Richmond, and when detained in London he slipped the guard at 9 in the morning; was in Doncaster by nightfall; in the Borders by the Friday evening, ordering that the King be proclaimed in the towns of Northumberland; then off again and as the King had just retired in Edinburgh on Saturday, Carey greeted him as King of England and Ireland. They had flair in those days, long before email.
Now, we do not break into threats of war or chaos. Hobbes observed that if there were no law of succession then the whole common-wealth would dissolve at the death of the sovereign, so we have a settled path, and bless the new King for that, as we mourn our loss.
We do mourn. She was the mother of the nation, and of the nations across the Commonwealth, and it does feel like the loss of ones own mother. The world is not the same now as it was when we lay down a week ago. Americans do not understand (but they also do not understand the way we pity them for their own failing system). We understand – it is at tribal, natural to the essence of mankind.
We step into a new Carolean Age, changed in ourselves. There will be new horizons in the new age. Let us first mourn the age taken from us.