A good sheila

I'm not much of a monarchist. As a citizen not only of Canada, the home I chose 20 years ago, but also of the United States, the land of my birth, I should not really be a monarchist at all. The American Revolution, after all, was fought in a declaration of independence from the British monarchy (although probably more directly to escape British mercantilism). If any Canadian should be an anti-monarchist, it would be me.

As well, even some Brits join in the derision of the often dysfunctional Windsor family. Prince Philip is an old crank. Charles is a Luddite weirdo who seems fated to remain Crown Prince for his entire life. His first marriage was a sham. The first marriage of his sister Anne ended in divorce as did the marriage of his brother Andrew. Even the addition to the family of the beautiful and stylish Catherine Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge, as well as the birth of a son to her and Charles's son William, second in line to the throne, has done little to rehabilitate the image of the family as a whole. Many consider the monarchy to be an expensive anachronism.

And yet...I just watched the Queen's Christmas message. I couldn't care less about whatever the Prime Minster had to say, but I wanted to listen to the Queen. The video was particularly well done, featuring the excellent Queen's Guard Band playing "God Save the Queen" at the beginning and "The First Noël" at the end. In between, Her Majesty spoke of the benefit of quiet reflection, something she herself had done while thinking of the 60 years since her first Christmas message as Queen, how much had changed since then and how much had remained the same. She mentioned how she was looking forward to the next Commnonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, and how the Commonwealth still allows member countries to discuss matters with one other in mutual respect. She said nothing earth shaking. No one would ever expect her to. But it was a lovely and uplifting message. I smiled at her obvious joy in the birth of her great-grandson. The message made me happy that she is officially (if somewhat ceremonially) Canada's head of state. And I have never been sorry that I affirmed (no swearing on a Bible for me) my allegience to her as sovereign when I became a Canadian citizen.

I love the United States. I love Canada. And I love that Canada is not the US, no matter how much some people (and some governments) try to make us so. God save the Queen, eh?

(If you are wondering about the title, it's a Monty Python reference. Look it up.)

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