Friday 16 September 2022

Thought Picnic: We are at peak mourning

Alright, here we are

The British expression of the veneration for the dead is quite fascinating to watch, for in the 8 days since the passing of Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II, the pomp, pageantry, ceremony, and performance that has greeting this period of mourning before her funeral has plumbed excesses rarely seen anywhere.

If the Queen were a Roman Catholic, she would be well on her way to beatification long before she has been interred. We are suffocated with coverage that could abandon common sense for sheer mass hysteria and uncontrolled genuflection.

Indeed, there is more grief for the immediate family of the Queen, and for the nation, is the realisation that a lady who has defined a major part of our national life is no longer with us. For her service and duty, we gather to pay our respects and honour her.

What I well see

Having great influences of another culture in my upbringing, a death at 96 is not considered sorrowful, rather a celebration of first a long life and then congratulations to their survivors for outliving their parents. I find myself at confluence and conflict as both my British and Nigerian influences wrestle with the spectacle that greets me.

At one time, I did think of travelling down to London for the laying-in-state, but after reviewing the rules and the prospect of being in interminably long queues for the prospect of a fleeting moment of bowing before a laden catafalque, I advised myself of the better participation in witnessing the civil and religious royal proclamations, along with signing the book of condolence at Manchester Cathedral.

For the living to be

I never had the occasion to meet the Queen, not that it was ever an ambition or desire, except for others who might if the situation presented itself would celebrate it. If perchance, one did meet with royalty, maybe there would be some interaction and conversation that in this case is absent from the dead, except if one were to indulge in necromancy.

My counsel informs that this performative exercise in public grief is hardly a front seat row and more an acquiescence of the establishment to gauge the popularity of the institutions that undergird it, as there is an enumerator somewhere seeking to use the numbers to convey a point.

To king I vow

All this does not make me any less a monarchist, I am quite comfortable with the unimaginative consistency of a hereditary constitutional monarchy that puts the excesses of political chicanery in check as much as it can without interfering with the system, than to radically change the system to a republic. What we need is a reform of our voting system to be more representative of the electorate and the less use of patronage to pack the House of Lords full of chums, plutocrats, and influence peddlers.

The gift of television gives a wider view and where opinion is grating, I can mute the volume.  As for the new royal household, it is a work in progress and all the preparations for this event are still left to some cack-handed courtiers who by trying to maintain intrigue and mystique almost always leave the royals caught rather flatfooted. Before I put pen to paper to reveal character flaws that were once rumoured of.

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