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The Queen and I


Last September, Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning monarch in British history, surpassing Victoria, her great-great-grandmother, who ruled for 63 years and 217 days. Fawning journalists behaved like King Arthur’s knights armed with pens. “Suppose she had got drunk?” asked Charles Moore, formerly the editor of the Daily Telegraph, a courtier of every age. His point was — and Winston Churchill made it first — that she is perfect for the role. She did not get drunk; or rather, if she did — and there is a school of thought that believes she is drunk all the time on gin and Dubonnet, and I would not blame her if she were — she did not show it. She does not make mistakes. We are applauding an absence of something. It is very British to salute a void. Everyone can agree on its merits.

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’s most recent article for Harper’s Magazine, “A Goose in a Dress,” appeared in the September 2015 issue. She lives in London.

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