Queen Elizabeth’s Death …

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… considering how long she was monarch, makes you think.

The vast majority of people in the British Empire were born during her lifespan, and there can not be very many people in this world that remember the time before she was born. She has been monarch for longer than most people have lived. I remember as a child seeing film of her coronation, so I have a sense that I remember that, but it is of course a false memory. What I’m remembering is some anniversary jubilee or celebration, which involved a major parade and the showing of films of her coronation.

There are some 68 entries on the lists of English or UK monarchs. Some are disputed, but that’s not my fight, so I count them when I consider who has been in this situation in the past. Also, we assume that the list REALLY goes back to King Arthur and early kings or queens are missing, to the extent that any of them actually existed.

The average time on the throne across these centuries is about 16.3 years. Some 11 throne-sitters spend less than a year (sometimes just a few days) in that position, 16 less than 3 years.

The time-on-throne for Queen Elizabeth exceeded record-setter Queen Victoria, the former at 70 years and the latter at an impressive 63 years. Only five monarchs held the position for 50 years or more. They say that when Queen Victoria died, there was a sort of extra trauma across the British Empire, since she had bee queen for so long. I believe they invented a “Queens Day” to allow people to continue to celebrate her even though she was passรฉ in the truest sense of the term.

The distribution of years-on-throne is no more normal than having a person on a throne is these days. Indeed, it is quite like a poisson distribution with all the “zero values” being MISSING VALUE as one might imagine is the case for pretenders and would-be throne-sitters. (Sorry, inside stats joke.) How long you are on the throne is a function of the chance of a bad thing (ie death or displacement) happening, plus average age of dethronement. So, this:

Dumb Excel histogram of time on English/UK throne ever.

Also, finally, I have a direct(ish) connection to the British Monarchy, finally. My friend and former advisor-type in grad school, David Pilbeam, was for a time Charles’s tutor, I believe at Trinity. I may have some details wrong.

British Life Expectancy for males is about 79.3 years, so Charles will not be King as long as his mom was Queen.

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In Search of Sungudogo by Greg Laden, now in Kindle or Paperback
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4 thoughts on “Queen Elizabeth’s Death …

  1. Well past the time for the Brits to extinguish the monarchy and all such hereditary titles. The concept of someone being more worthy than another simply because of the family they were born into is an insult to intelligence.

    Monarchies made some sense in days of yore when monarchs actually led their troops from the front line into battle and fought beside them.

  2. The concept of someone being more worthy than another simply because of the family they were born into is an insult to intelligence.

    Bingo. I had nothing against her really — she didn’t seem to be fundamentally evil in the way trump [there would be a funeral to celebrate] and his magats are, but revering someone simply becuase

    – they lived a long time
    – they were rewarded in life simply because of their family heritage
    – those rewards came in a caste system that judges people by family heritage

    just rubs wrong.

    1. Unlike Trump she did serve during a world war including driving and maintaining service transport. She and her family really lived under the threat of German bombs, The Palace being notably hit.

      Hereditary perks aside there is much to admire about her conduct in public, quite unlike Trump.

      I remember when the death of King George VI was announced. I, aged five, was in Gloucester (England) post office queuing with my mother collecting ration books. We then queued in a building in another part of the city for the quota of stamps to put in those books. I remember it as a cold, dank wet day the mood of the country was already sombre.

      My parents had a TV set, a KB, also a radio of the same make. They purchased these out of the small legacy from my mother’s mother. The TV was a huge wooden box, deep from front to back with a 12 inch screen very curved at the edges and corners with the signal captured by a H aerial on a long pole which reached down to the ground Next door had a TV in a standing cabinet with a circular 9 inch screen, I do not recall the make.

      Because our TV had that slight edge on screen size our living room was crowded with neighbours on the event of Elizabeth’s coronation. To me it seemed to go on all day with mostly Richard Dimbleby droning in the background.

      During that period I also remember watching newsreels from the Korean War including at one Christmas Time. Memorable for me because I cut some fingers on a steel tape measure that somebody had given me as a present. I guess I liked the spring retraction mechanism and allowed it to retract through my fingers. It was a cold Christmas with snow outside, the house one of many recently built to ease the pressure due to bombed out people in temporary accommodation, so the house was still drying out. Our only heating being a coal fire in the lounge which had a back boiler for hot water.

      The best Christmas present I had was an orange. If kids today had an orange in their stocking I doubt that they would be impressed.

      It seems like a whole word ago, which of course it was.

      Queen Elizabeth was my commander in chief during my 20+ years of Royal Naval service. On occasion of visiting a cinema, soon after joining up this would have been in rig (uniform), we were expected to stand to attention when the National Anthem was played at the close of the film.

      Do not forget that the Queen had a strong sense of duty whilst their was little of the vaingloriousness seen in other heads of state, or lesser figures.

      The monarchy is one thing, but it is our broken democracy, both here and in the US, where corporate greed rules over the needs of the people that is the huge problem with shady lawyers supporting the big boys and the justice system for others all but wiped out. I think it was in ‘Big Coal’ that Jeff Goodell pointed out that in one year tens of thousand of lawyers had graduated compared to just a few hundred of scientists.

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