The Elegance of Queen Elizabeth II

As I reflect on Queen Elizabeth’s death this week, I recall a story my mother loved to tell about a time when I was about ten. Apparently I was displaying less than desirable table manners at dinner one evening. My mom asked, “Is that how you are going to eat when you dine with the queen?” To which I replied with all the audacity and seriousness only a ten-year-old girl can possess, “What makes you think I won’t be the queen?”

While I do admire the spunk of that little girl, she clearly had much to learn about ascension to the throne as well as dining etiquette. It’s hard to imagine fifty years later I would have become a bit of a royal watcher and big fan of Queen Elizabeth.

There’s little I can add to the conversation about the queen’s life and how beloved she was by those close to her as well as those who watched her from afar. To say she was elegant is an understatement. While she did not coin the phrase Keep Calm and Carry On, it does seem to embody Queen Elizabeth’s fortitude, composure, and self-discipline.


The now famous British phrase was one of three posters the Ministry of Information created in 1939 in the event of war. On September 3, 1939, in response to Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Only a small number of original posters survived as most of them were recycled in 1940 to help the British government face a desperate paper shortage.

In 2000, a copy of the poster was discovered in a bookshop in Northumberland, England and reproductions began to sell a year later. The poster and its message has since become ubiquitous with many imitations and parodies.

As a student of Stoic philosophy, I find the British stiff-upper-lip attitude admirable. Not everyone appreciates the sentiment of the poster as I do, but it has helped me get through many life challenges with a bit of the queen’s strong spirit.

Were my mother still living, I know she would be glued to the television this week and mourning along with the rest of the world. She would retell stories about growing up and living during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. I also know she would still be laughing about when I was ten and actually thought I had a shot at wearing the Crown. §

“When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat;
instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.”

~ Queen Elizabeth II

8 thoughts on “The Elegance of Queen Elizabeth II

  1. I also wish that my beloved Grandma, born in 1903, was here and watching the news, listening to the commentary. She would be interested but I know that she would not have a lot to say about it as she herself acted in this calm, courageous manner in her 98 years of life. She, like the Queen, assumed that this was how you carried yourself and that service, duty to others and your faith were vitally important. Again, like the Queen, she had an elegant, simple manner of dress and grooming and she taught me all I know about elegance and gratitude. I am glad that a similar strong spirit has guided you through life’s many challenges Alicia. I hope you are well. Hugs from Australia where it is now Spring.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hello, Cate. Sympathies to you and your country for the loss of your elegant queen. Your Grandma sounds lovely. How I wish we could regain some of those important values she held. Thank you, as always, for reading and for sharing your comment. I hope you are enjoying spring, as we say hello to fall. I will be in touch. Love, Alicia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your sympathy Alicia as in our family the Queen was the sovereign of our country and so there is sadness, especially as most of us have never known another Monarch. Fall is a beautiful season too and brings its own joys. Take heart and take care. Love, Cate

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  3. It is interesting to see how the UK is still viewed from afar, Alicia. The Queen was the last of a kind and a great servant in both how she ruled and how she conducted herself. Alas, the concept of the ‘British, stiff, upper lip, is well gone. Maybe this time of mourning will help those that now govern us find some humility, elegance and grace, which the Queen had in abundance.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is a compassionate and thoughtful comment @davydwriter and I agree wholeheartedly that the persons in authority everywhere could learn from the late Queen’s leadership.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks for reading, Davy D. My knowledge of the UK is limited, and I have never had the chance to travel there. I feel your sadness in losing the queen and frustration in your government – something most of us on this side of the pond can relate to. I do hope this time highlighting the queen’s life encourages us all to value some of her wonderful traits. 🙂 Alicia

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed today’s Simple Swan. I just have to share with you that in 2013 I was in Wales and shook hands with then Prince Charles. We also had a brief conversation!

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my goodness! That’s such a special memory, especially now that he is King Charles III. I hope he follows his mother’s lead in his duties. Our ancestry is from Wales, so I would love to visit someday. Thanks for reading! ❤ Alicia


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