Without a doubt this has been a historic week. Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday at age ninety-six.
Many, many people are sad, and will mourn her loss. Her family, of course. And I think probably the many, many people who loyally served her and worked for her, and with her, in whatever capacity. Certainly there are lots and lots of posts on social media of anecdotes from those who met her and loved her.
And for those who don’t claim to have loved her, or even to have supported the idea of monarchy, she still inspired respect and admiration. No one can claim she did not serve her country well, and for a very long time. Even those who think that queens and kings are irrelevant to twenty-first century society, that the concept of empire was an abomination (which of course it was), stop short of criticising Queen Elizabeth herself. My husband who while he understands the historical significance of the monarchy to British and to Canadian society snorts in disgust when I say anything about any member of the royal family. Except the queen. He respected the queen.
But let’s try to stay real, my friends. What would the queen say about all the hyperbole that has been said and written about her since Thursday? All the social media memes that have proliferated? Especially the cloyingly sentimental ones. Like the ones that show her heading off to heaven, hand in hand with Paddington Bear. Wouldn’t she herself, like Hubby, snort in disgust? Or the one showing the back of Philip’s head as he doffs his hat, over the caption, “I’ll look after her from here.” Or something like that. Gad, that one made me cringe in embarrassment.
When someone dies, remembering them, who they were, what they did, and what they meant to us is what we do. What we should do. Even sometimes for people whom we have never met.
I remember when Pierre Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister from 1968-79 and again from 1980-84, died back in 2000. My colleagues and I sat in the teacher’s prep room at school and talked of him. We weren’t grief stricken. But we were touched by his death. And I remember talking about how we admired him. Canada had never seen a Prime Minister quite like him. Many of us, then in our forties, had grown up with Trudeau as Prime Minister. Now you might decry his politics; that’s your prerogative. But we remembered him as a young upstart in the Liberal party who suddenly made politics exciting. We were marking his passing. Remembering what he meant to each of us. Not mourning him. Not really.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to sound disrespectful. And I don’t want to offend those who are truly saddened by the Queen’s death. I actually liked and admired the queen. I’m sad that she has died. I feel great respect and admiration for the person she was and for her long years of service. I love listening to all the anecdotes told by members of her household showing her wit and kindness. As a Canadian her face has been part of my daily existence since I was born. And I recognize that her death is momentous. Historic. She deserves all the pomp and circumstance, the ceremonial rituals that mark her long life, and her position in British society.
But all the hyperbole makes me uncomfortable. Sentimental hyperbole always makes me uncomfortable. The demand that people embody some sort of fairytale-type character. I don’t understand why we can’t praise people for what they’ve done and been, remember them for who they were and what they’ve meant to us, rather than try to make them into something they’re not. Seriously, when it comes to all the sentimental claptrap, I think the Queen herself would have counselled a little restraint. Don’t you?
Okay, I’m done. As my mum always says, “That’s enough about that.”
I’d planned to write a fashion post today, but other thoughts took over. Still… here’s some photos of what I’ve been wearing lately.
So, yeah. I’ve been trying to feel the fall vibes even though it’s still hot here. Tank tops with loafers. Light summer pants with shirts. No blazers. Yet.
Hubby is off on a canoeing trip in a day or so, and I’ll be on holiday. I’ll eat when I want and what I want. Sadly, I’ll have to cook it myself. So, I plan to meet friends for lunch and then have toast and tea for supper. Ha. I’ll get a much needed haircut. I’m going to binge watch The House of Eliott which I haven’t watched in years. I will do a closet clear-out. Much more fun when I have to house to myself.
And probably, despite my sentiments above, I’ll be glued to the television for all the goings-on in the UK.
And apologies to those who love seeing them together, but I will NOT be posting cringey memes of Queen Elizabeth and Paddington Bear on social media. Of that you can be very sure.
P.S. What I’m wearing in this post. Vince V-neck cashmere cardigan. Here at Nordstrom Rack, here at Nordstrom.ca, and here at Vince. Mine is size large in navy. Nordstrom Signature cotton, oversize shirt (in solid colours) here at Nordstrom.com and here at Nordstrom.ca. FYI the Canadian Nordstrom site is different from the American. Canadians have to purchase from the Canadian site. Everlane tank top here at Everlane. I wear a size large. COS striped top here at COS in red and white. Mine is a medium, so size down. Veja sneakers here at Net-a-porter. My navy pants are very old Max Mara and go with my light-wool summer suit, so they are unavailable. The Frankie shop has a great selection of dress pants, many of which I’d be happy to own, although nothing that is very close to my navy MM pants. And these Theory dress pants at Nordstrom are nice. Plus they have the stretch that mine have and a similar cut. They’d be better with sneakers than the pumps that Nordstrom chose to show with them, IMO.
P.P.S. All the clothing links above are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission which helps to pay for the blog.
50 thoughts on “The Week That Was”
Thank you for a (nother) great post. I am a Canadian married to a American/Canadian who doesn’t have the same history with the monarchy and the Queen as you and I do (I so clearly remember her portrait with the blue sash in our elementary classrooms, and facing it as we sang “God Save the Queen” at the end of every day.) So lots of interesting conversations. For my part, I admired and respected the Queen even while being a little ambivalent about the role of the monarchy in the 21st century. It turns out a constitutional monarchy, despite its problems, may actually be the most sane and stable form of government. And looking at the republic to the south, it’s hard to think that is a superior form of governance.
When I look at the pictures of the Queen, from young age to a few days before her death, I actually feel incredible sympathy for her and anyone who is born to that “gilded prison”. She never really had a choice about how to live her life – you only get to thrust off the burden of the crown by abdicating or dying. (Maybe someone will invent royal retirement – after all the Pope did it?) Yes, there’s great privilege and wealth, and the constraints and strains of living in a golden fishbowl sure don’t seem worth it to me.
I will mark and honour her passing and then watch with interest what happens next – hoping that all Canadians will actually research how our constitutional monarchy works before declaring “I don’t want a King”.
I’m with you on the value of our form of government. A parliamentary system sure seems to be the best way to go as far as Hubby and I are concerned. Wish, as you said, that people would just look it up if they don’t understand why we do things the way we do.
i agree with your comments on the sickly memes which have done the rounds. more than once i have thought of what Prince Philip in particular would have said.. unprintable probably.
i have always found it strange how people become saints when they die. the one that shocked me the most was Princess Diana. everyone has their thoughts about her but the idea that she was some sort of saint is just bizarre.
enjoy your week alone.. i love to cook for others but also live on toast when eating alone!
Ha. Good point. Philip for all his faults did not suffer fools or too much sentiment gladly.
Here in the States, the flags have flown at half-mast in her honor. Some are confused by it. We have settled on the explanation that she during her long reign had been a steadfast friend and ally of these United States.
I’m in the states and not at all confused by it.
I didn’t realize that the flags are flying at half-mast in the U.S.
Yep, right there with you. Certainly, her passing is historic and momentous and reflective of so many social and political changes over her lifetime — and certainly, she was a significant part of that landscape from my infancy. But . . . .
That burgundy bag! Yummy! And your “twinset” of T and shouldered pullover — nicely done. Also really like the navy outfits. Starting to make a few outfit changes here, although it’s still sunny and warm enough to pretend Summer. . . Smoke’s rolling in, however, the new late-summer “weather” of the last near-decade here . . .
Enjoy your holiday — I’m a bit envious, need to send my fellow off somewhere 😉
Thanks, Frances. I’m looking forward to my “holiday.” And like Kris said, I can’t think of elementary school without conjuring that portrait of Elizabeth II in her blue sash hanging in the school.
I have started to move a few summer items out of my closet and take stock of items that are missing for Fall/ Winter. I have been looking for a Navy , V-neck Sweater for awhile now, so I was excited to see that you were wearing one. You often mention items at the bottom of your blog and what stores you found them in. Would you mind sharing where you found your Navy, V-neck sweater and your wide leg pants?
I always look forward to your blog postings as they are always so well written and always of interest. Thank you.
Enjoy your closet “clear out “. 😊
Thanks Sue for posting all the items you were wearing in the pictures.
You’re welcome, Carolyn.
I just revised the post to include links to outfits at the bottom, Carolyn. Thanks for asking.
Your patio dinner outfit is a cracker and I also liked the outfit for the dentist visit – lavender suits you. On some days here, I’ve been able to replace woollen jumpers with cotton sweatshirts. It’s still cool enough for jeans, but thankfully not as cold as it has been.
As for the late Queen, I’m a republican through and through, but I admired her sense of duty, decorum and humour. Mostly, I was in awe of her almost century-long view of world history and I would have loved to talk to her about UK and global affairs, over tea and scones of course. I bet she would have had a few insights worth hearing. As for the hyperbole, I think it helps some people to deal with strong emotions like grief, so I do my best to tune out.
Duty, decorum, and humour… definitely describe the Queen. She served for so long, it’s hard to imagine her life.
As the first Brit to chip in ? I think you’ll know my views . I’m not a monarchist & the whole system now seems archaic . It also perpetuates our class system . The myth that The Duke & Duchess of wherever have more rights to the wealth & privileges of our country can’t be fair. I’ve always hated that the royals delight in the mass slaughter of game birds yet are patrons of the RSPCA & the World Wildlife Fund . And yes some of the tributes & displays of grief are toe curling .
But then ….. I was shocked to read of the Queens death , however expected it was at her age . I can’t remember any other monarch & her coronation is one of the strongest memories of my childhood . She was a glittery , smiling vision in her huge frocks & sparkly jewels . Her affection for her ‘ moving carpet of dogs ‘ , as it has been called , was lovely to see . I liked that she was above the ‘ Celebrity World ‘ & kept her feet firmly on the ground . When she visited our area in the 50s we were so excited to see her flash by our huge gathering of school children . She sped on out of the town where the crowds disappeared. My dad was working in a garden as she came by & , as it was a hot day , he was shirtless . Nevertheless he stood up & gave her a good wave – she laughed & waved back .
Coincidentally I had just finished reading Tom Bower’s book Revenge when I learnt of the Queen’s death . If only half of it is true it’s still eye opening & he’s not being sued yet , which is telling . HM has had a great deal to contend with in her life , especially recently, & it will be interesting to see where we go from here . The politics are complicated . Without a royal head of state might we be more vulnerable to despots & weird presidents ? King Charles ( haven’t got used to that ) is at least slimming the relevant royal family down . It seems healthier for all concerned that William & his family integrate more into normal society & he seems to be leaning that way .
Tell Stu I agree with him 😁
I liked that Elizabeth kept herself above the cult of celebrity too. I’ve always admired her, even more now that I’ve read Tina Brown’s book The Palace Papers.
The other comments have said it all – I note what Kris and Wendy mentioned about the stability of our form of government. I don’t have social media accounts in general, so have missed the memes (thank goodness, it sounds!). I do have a Twitter account, only to keep up with postings by prominent economists and to some degree politics, but whenever I fall into scrolling there I feel depressed (the toilet bowl of the Internet). So no social media for me, other than blogs, such as yours, as I enjoy the narrative and “knowing” the person behind the words, just a little. This avoids the adulation (and occasionally censure) for snapshots of what one’s life undoubtedly is not, in a rounded way. Anyway, that’s my soapbox.
I was at the National Arts Centre for the second night of their season opening concert(s) on Friday and Alexander Shelley (who is of course British) paid the perfect tribute to the woman who has seen so much of our history and has been a present if tangential figure to so many of us. He came out, the orchestra played Elgar’s Nimrod beautifully, and then the room fell silent for about a minute. You could have heard a pin drop. Of course the silence ended with God save the King. That said, if anyone is interested, the video of the concert is available on the NAC website until tomorrow (Bruce Liu playing Rachmaninoff was the headliner, and why I went). The Elgar begins at around minute 16.
I finished sewing a rather lively dress with yellow flowers all over it, so I’ve been wearing it and squeezing out the final marrow of summer given the warm weather we have been having.
I wish that more people knew about and realized the significance of the monarchy in our form of democracy. Instead of looking at the royals as celebrities only I mean even if we don’t feel that monarchy is needed anymore, at least make some effort to understand our own history. Oops. That’s my little soapbox. Ha.
A historic week indeed! The Queen was the constant in our life,even outside english speaking countries (and even in a socialistic country, as it was)
I remember the exibition of her dresses in London some twenty years ago,I was surprised how petit she was (and the dresses were so beautiful)
I’m still in bikinis and linen dresses,have no idea what to wear when I will be back in real life.
Toast and butter,maybe some cheese-so happy when I’m alone and it could be my lunch(and dinner,too)
Sadly I am off cheese… and still mourning its loss. Ha. I like what the French are saying about Elizabeth that to us she is “our Queen” while to them she is simply “THE Queen.”
I’m Scottish and we have a complicated relationship with the monarchy. Many Scots love them many don’t. So many things happened in the past that there is a tangled history between England and Scotland and it is still going on with the Scottish Independence movement pushing for another referendum next year.
However the Queen spent so much of her time in Scotland at her home at Balmoral and clearly loved the traditions and the way of life in the Scottish countryside that I think most Scots have a soft spot for her regardless of their feelings about the monarchy in general. She was a great lady and she will be missed.
She will be missed. I’ve always loved all the photos of the royal family at Balmoral in their kilts. 🙂
I would also like to know about the v-neck sweater and the pants, could you please comment on the place to find and the sizes you are wearing.
Yep. Just added some links into the post. Thanks for asking.
There is not much I can add. I enjoyed following the life documentaries that were on the TV from the Jubilee and the life of a dedicated woman. She is for so many of us the only monarch we knew, so it will be very interesting to see where the King takes things from here. I have been impressed with his dedication to our planet and many charities.
I love the way your navy pants just flow down your legs and just purchased a pair for soft wider leg ones for myself. Now that the weather is turning a bit cooler I am looking forward to wearing them with a slightly oversized soft cotton sweater and perhaps a scarf. I have a lunch get together with a friend on Wednesday and the weather is looking like it might be just the day to try that.
It seems to be that our husbands take their fishing trips a week apart every year, and I feel your ” excitement” at having the house to yourself. I too am planning a major closet rehash and have a box ready to fill and donate without questions. Ah, the joy of no real meal schedule… yes.
Sadly my closet clear-out has to wait. As do all the things I scheduled for when Stu is away. My back problems returned on Sunday just in time for my “holiday.” So I am consoling myself with double and triple episodes of The House of Eliott. Plus physio, painkillers, and a heating pad. 🙂
Enjoy your posts…now seriously, where did you find those great pants? I am in search of some similar, with loose fit and wider legs…sick of all the skinny ones. Thanks
I have added links in the post now. But my pants are so old they are not available anymore. 🙁
I like the shorter length of the blue striped sweater with the fab pants!
Ah… I recently binge watched House of Elliot again myself. What a glorious romp — I think I sat up straighter and felt compelled to take a bit more care with my appearance during that phase! I wondered why there hadn’t been another season and read that it was cancelled unexpectedly — would have loved to enjoy another few episodes. Maybe there will be a remake… I’ve started watching the (not so recent) remake of Upstairs Downstairs, and again my “daily toilette” is improving exponentially! It is quite refreshing to revel in a time that unapologetically placed so much emphasis on dressing well and taking such care with one’s appearance.
Enjoy … and I fully agree with you on the excessive “meme-ification” of our great Sovereign. God save the Queen.
Oh, I loved that remake of Upstairs Downstairs too, Lolo.
Am hanging on to summer as if it were my job. Shorts and tees/sleeveless tops continue given the weather. Leaves have started to turn or drop but sunny hot days with high humidity are the daily dish. I’m glad. I do love your patio dinner with a friend outfit and your pending time alone…Stu-less. It’s so nice to have some time to yourself. I relish those days. We have totally different palates so for me I would eat breakfast for dinner the entire time he is away. I will watch the Queen’s funeral as it marks the end of an Era. I considered her the epitome of a strong and dignified women. She was only a year younger than my mother and I see their mutual devotion to one life long hairstyle. How does that happen? Having lost my mother I feel sorrow for her family. I am sure many countrymen mourn her passing. Unfortunately, social media gives the illusion that anyone knows others through a few news stories or pictures posted. The illusion gives way to inappropriate emogies or posts. Everyone deals differently with grief so each his own. I merely ignore those that offend me.
The Queen was a year older than my mum… and the Queen’s mum was a year younger than my grandmother. That’s why I always knew how old they were. 🙂
I loved the House of Eliott and would be interested in hearing any thoughts you might care to share on watching it again.
I voted for an Australian republic in the 1999 referendum, but I am an admirer of the Queen for performing a demanding job with dedication, dignity and grace. I have been fascinated by the television coverage of the Queen’s reign bringing back so many memories of how different the world was then and now.
So far I am loving The House of Eliott. Just the ticket to get me excited about vintage fashion again. That interest has waned since the pandemic… but this year I plan to be at the fall vintage fashion show here in Ottawa. If only for browsing and drooling. Ha.
We are at our PEI summer home and September ( so far) has been glorious. No mosquitoes!!! Agree with you about the treacle-y homages to the Queen or the nasty ones for that matter. The one that did break this dog lover’s heart was a sweet drawing of a Corgi looking back at his leash dropped to the ground. No owner in sight…
I read that although Diana was the People’s Princess, Elizabeth was the People’s Friend.
She was wasn’t she? Like the witty but practical, empathetic and compassionate elderly woman we all wish lived next door!
Maybe that’s something us women of a certain age can aspire to be!!
September in P.E.I. must be glorious! We have not been back for a few years now and I miss it.
Good to know that my eye rolling at some of the hyperbolic sentiment isn’t solely due to my being a cranky old lady in her early seventies.
For the record, I’m actually rather fond of having a constitutional monarchy despite my socialist tendencies—probably because I share the typical Canadian dislike of turning politicians and their families into celebrities. (Am I alone in being pleased I can barely remember the names of our PM’s wife, much less his offspring?) Having a well-trained, apolitical, ceremonial figurehead who hangs in there cutting ribbons and presiding over the structures of government regardless of the ebb and flow of politicians and political parties seems quite sensible to me. Despite my generally positive view, though, I suspect being constitutional monarch is a rather thankless field of work for the occupant who must be publicly available, yet maintain a sense of reserve to avoid being viewed as anything other than the role itself. Good bladder control and a fixed look of attentive interest are essential as is, as Prince Phillip once noted, a love of infrastructure. Not a job many of us would be willing to endure for decades so it’s hardly surprising that Prince George looks grumpy at times.
Given that job description, sheer gratitude seems an appropriate response to the way Queen Elizabeth ll filled the position for seven decades with grace, generosity, and a stoic courage that earned the respect of many of us. Her family and friends have the right to mourn and grieve her death but I think those of us who only knew her as a ceremonial figure can still acknowledge her effect, not as saint or an intimate, but as a extraordinary person. And, in that spirit, perhaps those important conversations on restructuring, restitutions, and complicated histories might be subdued for a day or so as we reflect on the very real human who inhabited the role for so long.
Oh, and I do love those navy outfits—maybe because very similar pieces are residing in my closet. Thanks for the inspiration!
What a perfect (and delightful, entertaining) comment. I couldn’t agree more, and share your pride in barely remembering or even knowing the names of the wives or offspring of most PMs. I’ve always found the fascination with the families of politicians at best distasteful.
Ha. I remember reading about that line of Philip’s. No wonder the Queen described him as a breath of brisk fresh air. I agree that we must look at the monarchy and the people who do those jobs… for jobs they are… as more than celebrity photo ops. I heard someone compare Diana to Anne and remark that Anne had been pulling on her boots and slogging around various places in the world for twenty-five years as a patron of “Save the Children” with little fanfare.
Yes, the sentimental hyperbole seems to cheapen and lessens the relevance of the person. A big yes to the top two outfits.
The Queen’s passing is certainly something that made me stop and take note. I didn’t follow the royal family that much, but she’s been the Queen for my whole life and photos of her throughout the years do come to mind. I watched The Crown and was entertained. For the most part, I didn’t watch family weddings, funerals, or other big events.
I know that their are mixed feelings around the globe and I can understand that.
Nice outfits Sue. I like those navy pants. I like the black and white striped top over the pants.
Enjoy your mini vacation.
I loved the House of Eliott when I watched it years ago. How are you watching it now?
I have owned the box set for years, but haven’t watched it since I watched it on television. Making up for it now! Ha.
Am I the only person who isn’t offended by the ‘sentimental hyperbole’ posted about the Queen? I don’t think for one moment she or Philip would be offended by it – you’ve only got to watch the two videos she made with Paddington and James Bond to appreciate that she definitely had a sense of humour. When she was filming with James Bond, she specifically asked to have a line in the film. I think the artists who created the sentimental pictures have reminded us that she was a very warm and often witty human being.
The Queen and Prince Philip sure did have great senses of humour. I wasn’t actually referring to the skit with Paddington Bear in which she participated. Or the one with “James Bond” which was so good. Just to the plethora of memes, repeated over and over on Facebook and Instagram in which people have used the original images and artist’s renderings and added their own lines etc. Also the ones with copied photos of Prince Philip in which they have added words I guess they wish he had said. I think the Queen was a wonderful and wonderfully hard-working and caring person. I just think that jumping on a meme bandwagon does her a disservice. But that’s, as I said, my own opinion. I don’t expect everyone to share it.
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