In keeping with Irish tradition, I go to visit family graves on the odd occasion. It’s a moment that is intensely personal, a moment when you want to stand there and think your own thoughts and say your own words. It’s a moment so personal that it would almost be an embarrassment to have someone standing nearby.
Anyone overhearing what I might say would think I’m eccentric or mad, or both, and if there is the odd tear, then I want it to be private and personal, I would not want anyone watching.
Saint George’s Chapel in Windsor is a place steeped in history, tracing itself back to the 13th Century. It is filled with the graves of English monarchs, I stood today at the grave of Edward IV of England, 1442-1483. I don’t suppose there are many who now grieve Edward’s passing.
But not far from Edward’s grave is the grave of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and their daughter Princess Margaret, there are plenty of people left to grieve their loss. I know the Queen of England is over 80, but I wonder if she still stands at the grave of her parents and sister and remembers happier times. I wonder if there is a moment for saying a few words and for shedding a tear, I wonder if is she given space and peace and quiet?
I don’t understand the relationship of the English with the Royal Family, on the one hand they declare themselves avid supporters of the monarchy, on the other hand, they seize upon every piece of gossip and rumour carried by the tabloid press.
It is confusing, if you respect someone, then you respect their right to privacy and their right to having their own inner life; you can’t claim to respect someone if you splash every piece of tittle tattle all over the newspapers.
If I was the Queen and my little sister had died, I think I would be upset, and no matter how many demands there were upon my time, I think I would want just a few minutes of peace.
I wonder if the press people have ever known what grief was, if they have ever stood at a family grave. If I was the Queen, I would have called it a day a long time ago. I would have taken my family money and told the State that they could take what was theirs and I would have gone to live in Paris, where they at least have respect for style.
There are times when I am glad to live in a republic.