Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Queen

Mrs maytrees and I went to see The Queen yesterday; not the real one
but the film, at the Wimbledon Odeon.

The action commences in the UK in 1997.
The great actress, Helen Mirren stars as the Queen with Michael Sheen
playing as the newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair. I was not expecting
the film to be good, a good press revue may not accurately
mirror the film itself, but "The Queen" was excellent.

The Royal family was at the time, criticised for not being
in tune with their people's "grief" following on from
Princess Diana's death. Despite press headlines of the "aloofness" variety
and mountains of flowers being heaped outside the gates
of Buckingham Palace, its flagpole was bare; not even the Union Jack
at half mast, let alone the Royal Standard. Neither had any 'Royal' made a
statement or public pronouncement of grief.
Tony, the keen new PM knew his people better and set about convincing
the Royals to modernise. The Queen eschewed the modern trend
for wearing one's heart on one's sleeve or for "grieving" for someone
one didn't know and believed the people would come to her point
of view in while.

A quietly dramatic scene took place when HM was stranded alone
when her Land Rover stuck in a river ford at Balmoral.
As she stepped out into the empty countryside,
for a moment she came face to face with a great stag
being hunted by a royal hunting party. The pressures
of office, her private grief and her awareness of the
plight of this magnificent creature, all coalesced into
tears - privately. She later visted the slaughtered
stag in a neighbouring estate - quite a poignant scene.

My own view is that the Queen's attitude at the time
was right and that the people's sentimentality was best not
followed. Leaders often need to guide their people
rather than follow them.

PM Tony, ever conscious of what the media might say, followed
public opinion and by virtue of his high, elected office,
the Queen was right to accept his advice. However
he was I believe wrong to give it.

A film with much to commend it.


  1. From the Beeb website:

    [quote] Dame Helen is Queen of the Globes
    British actress Dame Helen Mirren has dominated this year's Golden Globes... She received acting prizes as Elizabeth I in the TV mini-series of the same name and as Elizabeth II in The Queen, which also won best film screenplay

  2. A well deserved Oscar for Dame Helen Mirren

  3. I, too, much enjoyed the film and was moved by the scene you mentioned. There was another moment which I also found intensely moving (but perhaps a tribute to the director's skill more than a matter of historical fact). I can't remember the exact details after this lapse of time, but at the ceremony for Diana, the Queen senses a sort of subdued hostility on the part of the crowd. A rather sullen child thrusts a bouquet of flowers in her direction. Bracing herself for the worst, the Queen timidly asks the girl: "Are they for Diana?". "No, they're for you". Very moving.
    I thought Prince Charles came off worst in this film.


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