Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Edited from Bloomberg News:
Yesterday, Queen Elizabeth II made her first visit to New York since the 1976 bicentennial of U.S. independence from Great Britain. She addressd the United Nations and visited the World Trade Center site afterwards.

The queen's speech to the UN was her first since 1957, 12 years after the world body was established.

Afterwards, the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, will visit the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on New York, and then view a memorial at Hanover Square, in lower Manhattan, to the 67 British victims of the attack.

The 84-year-old monarch arrived here during a heat wave in New York, with the National Weather Service warning people to stay in the shade. Temperatures went over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the first time in more than eight years.

Hopefully the old girl didn't wilt in the heat. (This is being typed up on Tuesday afternoon.) But if she did, then this will serve as a "Hat Squad" tribute more than as the daily "As Seen On TV" showcase......

In November and December of last year, a five-part docu-drama entitled 'The Queen' aired in Great Britain over the course of the week. With each episode, each set during a different decade at a pivotal moment of her reign, a different actress played the role of Queen Elizabeth II.

Here's how the IMDb described each episode, with italicized comments also by Gerard Gilbert of The Independent.


Emilia Fox

Emilia Fox opens the series with a look at the first scandal experienced by the fledgling monarch, when it was revealed, in 1952, that her sister, Margaret, had fallen in love with an older, divorced royal employee, Group Captain Peter Townsend.

Original Air Date—29 November 2009
When King George VI dies, his elder daughter Elizabeth becomes the Queen of Britain. Younger sister Margaret, feeling sidelined, embarks on an affair with divorced palace employee Peter Townsend, sixteen years her senior. The Establishment opposes this and the Queen gives Peter a foreign posting to separate the pair. Margaret, backed by public opinion, is still keen to marry him, though she must renounce her claims to succession to the throne. Ultimately she chooses duty and privilege over love, though Elizabeth is perceived to have manipulated her.

Samantha Bond

The second film – arguably the most interesting, for being the least familiar – stars Samantha Bond and is set in the strike-ridden early 1970s, when the royal family's popularity was its lowest ebb and the Queen was running out of money.

"Us And Them"
Original Air Date—30 November 2009
By 1969 the Royal Family has lost its mystique as TV cameras film their lives. The days of blind reverence have gone as nearly a fifth of the population want rid of them, including members of Harold Wilson's Labour government, to whom the queen must appeal for an increase in her finances.

The increase is granted under the incoming Tories but the industrial unrest of the early 1970s contributes to the unpopularity of the Royal family. In 1974 Wilson's return to power is a boost for the queen as, ironically, is an attack on Princess Anne by unbalanced Ian Ball and, ultimately, another storm is weathered.

Susan Jameson

The third film, with Susan Jameson wearing the royal head-scarf, is set in the run-up to the 1986 Commonwealth Games and looks at the sovereign's uneasy relationship with Margaret Thatcher.

"The Rivals"
Original Air Date—1 December 2009
The Queen does not see eye-to-eye with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and, in 1986, the Sunday Times newspaper publishes an article claiming to be the Queen's less than flattering opinion of Thatcher whose regime she describes as uncaring and divisive. This is prompted by Thatcher's refusal to agree to sanctions on South Africa, as a result of which other Commonwealth countries are threatening to boycott the Commonwealth Games. The Queen loves the Commonwealth and the two women go head-to-head. Thatcher has her way and a much depleted games takes place - at least allowing England to win more medals than usual - but the Queen's stance has raised her standing in the Commonwealth.

Barbara Flynn

The penultimate film, with Barbara Flynn, takes place during the Queen's annus horribilis, 1992.

"The Enemy Within"
Original Air Date—2 December 2009
In 1992, the Queen insists that her family should pay tax, in order to be seen as 'doing their bit'. But there are family problems. Frisky daughter-in-law Sarah has left Prince Andrew and ended up on tabloid front pages in a saucy pose with her financial advisor. This leaves unhappy Princess Diana, betrayed by her husband Charles, gaining public sympathy through a book and television interview. Once more public opinion seems to want the end of the monarchy and, to add to Elizabeth's problems, part of Windsor Castle burns down. 1992 truly turns out to be her 'annus horribilus' with the marriage of Charles and Diana, which once seemed so romantic, coming to an end.

Diana Quick

The final film has Diana Quick's monarch coming to terms with Prince Charles's determination to marry Camilla Parker Bowles.

"How Do You Solve A Problem Like Camilla?"
Original Air Date—3 December 2009
A year after Diana's death, Queen Elizabeth will not entertain Charles's longtime soul-mate and mistress, the divorced Camilla Parker-Bowles, refusing to attend his fiftieth birthday party because of her presence. For once public opinion is with the Queen and Camilla is demonized in the press but Charles's spin-doctor Mark Bolland engineers a situation which demonstrates the couple's oneness and they are gradually accepted by the Establishment and, significantly, Charles's sons. By necessity, the Queen starts to unbend and learn to move with the times, attending the couple's wedding reception.


No comments: