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Still a diamond after 60 years
Local tributes to Her Majesty after 60 years on throne
She’s been shot at while riding a horse on national television, weathered numerous family tabloid scandals and reigned strong throughout six decades of cultural, economic and social change.
As a teenage princess, she even stayed in England to help the war effort after her mother, defying political pressure to seek refuge in Canada, famously remarked: "The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave without the King. And the King will never leave."
And after recently turning 86 during her Diamond Jubilee year — and her last visit to the city in 2010 still a recent memory — Queen Elizabeth II is still capturing the hearts and minds of certain Winnipeggers.
Members of the St. Andrew’s River Heights United Church held a garden party on April 21 to celebrate the Queen’s milestone year — complete with fancy hats, tables of royal memorabilia, cucumber sandwiches and scones with jam and Devon cream and a rendition of There’ll Always Be an England.
St. James resident Doreen Craddock, who is on the church’s Queen’s garden party committee, said the Queen’s composure under pressure helps maintain her appeal.
"It’s her ongoing dignity in the face of a lot of things that have happened to the Royal Family and her children. She became a Queen at a very young age and took it upon herself to do her duty," Craddock said.
Another congregation member, Sonja Lundstrom, said the party was a "wonderful opportunity" to celebrate Her Majesty’s reign as she remains an inspirational figure because she is "part of our culture."
"Thinking about her Christmas addresses, I love that she speaks with such a sense of respect. She’s a leader, an icon and has been quite a role model in a powerful way," said Lundstrom, who lives in River Heights.
"For older people that have seen wartime, she’s been a part of that whole era, so there’s a connection. In the last 60 years, think of all the turmoil and her growing wisdom. Maybe she’s a symbol of England?"
Darcie von Axelstierna, who is chair of Manitoba’s Monarchist League of Canada chapter, said the Queen’s popularity is partly rooted in her longevity, which breeds consistency and familiarity.
"For most people, our Queen is the only Queen they’ve ever known, so she encapsulates several generations," von Axelstierna said. "She represents so much of our past and it’s a living history one can live by and live up to. She believes in what she’s doing."
The Queen is also a perfect example of someone keeping mentally and physically busy into their twilight years, according to the proud monarchist.
"She’s always thinking and being active and meeting new people. I can’t imagine how many she meets on any given day," von Axelstierna said.
The downtown resident noted another ingredient in the mix is Her Majesty’s non-political role in the modern system of government.
"As the head of state, she’s above party politics, so her role is less divisive. Instead, she’s the embodiment of the state and representative of everyone," she said.
Island Lakes resident Daniel Whaley — who is proud to represent the future generation of royalists — attended the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton last year.
"It was an amazing two weeks," said Whaley, 20, a student at the University of Winnipeg. "It was lots of fun getting a first-hand perspective. It was monumental."
Whaley got up at 4 a.m. on the big day, went to Westminster Abbey and saw the guests arriving before securing a prime spot to watch the procession.
"The fact of the matter is they’re a power couple and so likeable, so people get attached to them. Everyone loves Kate. She’s a great girl. And a lot of people don’t bat an eye that she’s not from royal blood," said Whaley, whose mandate from MLC is to engage new national members under 25.
"Nowadays people want the monarchy to reflect and represent the society they live in," he said, noting the next generation could yield a same-sex or interracial royal marriage.
Despite this, Whaley thinks Her Majesty will always remain one-of-a-kind: "She’s willingly done it with pride, not begrudgingly. Whether you’re for or against her, she’s done a good job and done her duty," he said.
"She was brought up in a different era and taken the role of monarch seriously and clearly enjoys it. She’s been a completely different monarch. The role hasn’t defined her, because she’s defined the role."
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(1 of 14 articles for this week)05/22/2013 1:00 AM 0
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