I have little interest in the British monarchy. Princess Diana’s wedding and death, touchstones for many, barely registered for me. As a United States citizen, I have been raised to question the very rationale of hereditary authority. To quote Python, “Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.”
But the death of Queen Elizabeth II hits different. Her reign coincided with 15 UK Prime Ministers (starting with Churchill and ending with the freshly appointed Truss) and 14 US Presidents. She had been leading such a long time, Biden wasn’t even ten years old.
Of course I knew, intellectually and sensibly, that she was mortal. She just seemed to be an institution, and how do institutions die? And yes, there is an element of Hopkins’ “Spring and Fall” — It is Margaret you mourn for.