Could Queen Elizabeth II Be the Last Queen of England?
Before William and Kate or Harry and Meghan - and before anyone had heard of a 19-year-old named Diana Spencer - there was Clive Irving. Irving's long career as a journalist for the royal family includes serving as editor-in-chief of the Sunday Times in London, consulting editor for New York City's Newsday and founding editor of Conde Nast Traveler. Today he is a regular columnist for The Daily Beast and his new book The Last Queen: Elizabeth II. Seventy Years of Struggle to Save the House of Windsor is due out January 5th.
The last queen: Elizabeth II. Seventy years struggle to save the House of Windsor
$ 27.95.00, Amazon
It's a biography of the Queen with a stunning opening sentence: "Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch in British history and will likely be the last Queen of England," writes Irving. In a new interview with Glamor, Irving explains why - and delves into his thoughts on the entire royal family.
Why will Queen Elizabeth II be the last Queen of England?
Clive Irving: This is key why I wrote the book. I believe there were three great queens in the history of England: Elizabeth I, Victoria and Elizabeth II. When looking at the future of the monarchy and the future of the Windsor brood, it is clearly a male line of succession when looking at the line of succession. The future of the monarchy itself will be decided in the next three to four decades, and it will depend on whether people think it is more relevant to their lives. I feel that the present Queen is such a respected and uniquely remarkable woman and monarch - it is almost impossible to follow her. She has a strong sense of duty and I don't see anyone doing [this duty] in the same way. Charles doesn't have the same thing. We know almost nothing about the inner workings of the queen; We know way too much about the inner workings of Charles. She will likely be the last queen because she has [three] male heirs at a time when it is difficult to know what will happen in the future [to the monarchy].
What do you think of Charles and then William as king?
King Charles seems almost bizarrely regressive and Camilla doesn't work for anyone. William and Kate are very presentable; He's a very solid, calming figure, and she has adapted successfully to [the pressures of being a king].
And Harry and Meghan?
I don't understand the hostility towards Meghan Markle. It's different in the US than in the UK. The British kind of think that she stole him and that he is Prince Charming - that you can't blame him and that she made him leave. It's all nonsense. They are a very successful couple together. They are very modern and do modern things and do a good job. There is a burst of anger, as if Harry is leaving the ship, but he wants his own life as a distinctive character. The world expects Harry and William to be the same because they are Diana's boys.
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret
How does the perceived tension between Elizabeth and Margaret reflect Charles and Andrew and William and Harry? Will there always be rumors of tension between the heir and the replacement? If yes why?
I don't think it's meant to be, but a logical reason why the tension between life should and shouldn't be. The life of the heir is predetermined - they know what lies ahead. The other has a lot more freedom. It was natural for Margaret, and now for Harry, not to make full use of this obligation. The short answer is that it is natural for the inheritance and replacement to expire on very different courses. Andrew is a monstrous example; I don't understand why the Queen shows him so much sympathy. Charles always seemed annoyed that Andrew was clearly the favorite. Charles is thoughtful and thoughtful while Andrew is flat and vulgar.
Why does love always seem to be causing a crisis in this family? Edward VIII and Wallis, Margaret and Peter, Charles and Camilla, Harry and Meghan ...?
I think that's because a life of privilege can make people very forgiving. They don't go to the supermarket worrying about their groceries and the like. Charles is such a classic example of this - a legitimate, self-pitying man completely unsuitable for the kind of relationship Diana required. For some reason, Camilla figured out how to deal with him.
What about Philip and the Queen's relationship?
It is understood that before his marriage he was a Philander. But that all changed and he was later part of a very successful marriage. The last year together in prison was very touching, as if one were reliving the early days of their young marriage and rediscovering each other. The Queen always said that she depends on him and the support he has given her.
What do you think was the charm that made Diana the most famous woman in the world?
In part because she could control the story of how she was the victim. And she was certainly a victim of a made-up, unsuitable marriage. You could argue that she agreed, but she was incredibly young and naïve, and sucked into the glamor. She believed Charles loved her, but obviously he never did, so she had to accept the role of a smug woman who would not mind three people in marriage. Diana displayed far greater strength of character than any member of the royal family and certainly more than Prince Charles.
Queen and Diana Polo
Had she lived, what would Diana think of the family today?
Diana understood what fame was, but she was tortured along the way to that understanding. For the last two to three years of her life, she had full control over her narration, and the palace lost control of that narration. Diana ordered it. Until now, she was still an influential person and far more famous than anyone else in the family. It would be a fascinating situation.
What does the future of the monarchy look like?
I've heard [rumors] that the Queen will be using the Regency Act at 95 [next April], but I don't think she's inclined to do so. She would be incredibly frustrated if she couldn't do what she does every day and has made it very clear that she will continue [her work] for as long as she can. And she is clearly capable of it and does it so well. Imagine you've been in the same industry for 70 years and you know how well it works. It had 14 prime ministers so far. This underlines the constancy of the throne.
Which king do you find most convincing?
The Queen. She is the most remarkable and the only one that I really liked.
What do you think her legacy will be?
It extended the life of the monarchy much longer than it would otherwise have been extended. After the abdication, when her father came to the throne, there was a great lack of respect for the Windsor family. Her father put it together very well during the war, and she finished her father's job and put it back together. Nobody else has the ability to do the same [in my opinion].
Rachel Burchfield is a freelance writer whose main interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and the British royal family in particular.
Originally published on Glamor
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