Sunday, October 22, 2006

Helen Mirren does an impression of The Queen
Conjecture about HM around the time Diana, Princess of Wales was killed. Dumbed down for Channel 4. Seems like a TV-movie with all its expository dialogue because it is. Nothing new really: the royals aren’t very nice and are more interested in their hobbies than in people. (Though Prince Charles comes off rather well.) Then there’s the whole irony that people adored Diana in the first place for becoming a royal.

That said I like what the Queen stands for — duty and self-sacrifice to God and her people as a sacramentally crowned head of state (not even allowed to have an opinion much of the time as we’re reminded, sympathetically, in the beginning). She’s old-school. I understand the religion at the royal peculiars is the same way: not spikey but not modern either. And in the long run tradition was proved right in a way: Dianolatry waned fast and the sobbing masses in the documentary footage must feel awfully foolish.

A point made at the time and briefly by Prince Philip here: who should best decide how to grieve, the Queen who had known Diana Spencer since Diana was a little girl or millions who never met her? (Objectivity vs this kind of spectacle was a recent blog topic of old sparring partner Fr Todd Young. Just say no to eulogies and open-mic at funerals!)

Conjecture aside, the Queen bent but didn’t break. Well done, ma’am. Resisting the ‘Oprah’-fication of Britain.

The best moment is towards the end: a prophetic zing! Just you wait, Prime Minister... (Or ‘Tony bets on the wrong horse across the Atlantic’.)

Dame Helen is an ethnic Russian (Elena Vasilievna Mironova) but not Orthodox and doesn’t speak the language. She’s fashionably non-believing like you’d expect from an English woman like her. Essentially the stance of the Duke of Edinburgh most of his life: agnostic/indifferentist. At least the Prince of Wales is the patron of the Prayer Book Society.

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