I’d great expectations when I heard the newly released pictures of the Queen were described as natural and perceptive. I was disappointed. They are beautiful and classically staged, but they speak of another world which for many people died a natural and timely death in the late 40s and early 50s. There’s something preserved in aspic about the images. The children’s hair cuts and clothes don’t help. The room, amazing as it is,represents something wholly other than most people’s aspirations.
For a monarch’s presence to demand more than a dutiful response to dutiful life, well led, we need to connect emotionally. With duty and deference, concepts we are aware many fail to grasp, we are left with what? Consistency isn’t sexy as a media splash and longevity is not so unusual that we applaud it for its own sake.
I think if I’d been commissioned to take portraits of the Queen for her 90th birthday I’d have juxtaposed her with images of those she serves. I understand the political with a small ‘p’ statement of the visual image of an ageing monarch surrounded by lots of royal baby-sized children – the future is safe in our hands. But I think it could be a tad misguided. I wonder if monarchy will survive even with modernisation.
We do not tolerate the discrepancies between the haves and have nots with the respectful alacrity we did fifty years ago. We grasp now, better than before but still with varying degrees of success, just how complex our hold is on our planet, our value systems; let’s not even go to our tentative grasp on what monarchy is there for.
I guess the child in us wants the certainty of something to look up to. But our adult can’t help but question what it’s all for.
So today I wish all 90 year olds whose birthday falls today, a little of what they fancy. Whether they’re surrounded by opulence or poverty,