Although we all knew it would happen—some day—it still comes as a shock. Today Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96. Her passing ended a 70 year reign—the longest in British history. While scholars and historians and advocates will argue endlessly about the roles of England and Empire and Monarchy, today I am only thinking of the enormous and powerful presence which radiated from this tiny, reserved, proper and dignified woman. She was a model of deportment. She was a model of behavior. And she was a model of self-control and propriety. Oh that more of our world's leaders would emulate her example. Truthfully, we could all emulate her example.
And let's not forget that she was a woman. It was always interesting to see important men (occasionally from a more powerful country) approaching her tentatively—aware of her stature and minding their P's & Q's. For seven decades Queen Elizabeth provided a role model for female achievement, importance and empowerment. And she started this well-before the Women's Liberation Movement caught-fire in the Sixties and Seventies. Just her female presence as one of the most important people in the world is an important example of a capable woman-in-charge. A woman who would make the final decisions. Interestingly, I've heard little acknowledgement of this fact. Perhaps it's because we failed to recognize it for what it was; Queen Elizabeth had become such a permanent and expected part of our lives—and our understanding of the world. We thought she'd always been and would always be there.
I was in England this past June during her 70th Anniversary Jubilee. My timing was quite unintentional. I was there to shop and see my husband's Cosí fan tutte at the Garsington Opera. We were staying with friends in Oxford and traveling very little into London—hoping to avoid the crushing crowds. But every little village—every shop window, every lamp post, every front yard fence—was festooned with bunting and flags and portraits of the Queen. It was such a welcomed expression of joy, an exuberant celebration after six years of bad news. Days' worth of bank holidays were proclaimed (an unusual time to close one's shop with so many cash-laden tourists in-town). But there was a happy crackle in the air, something the world had been lacking since 2016.
The tin cigarette box, shown above, was one of my finds on that trip. It was issued as a commemorative in 1952 by Players Cigarettes. It didn't remain long on the LEO Design website; an eagle-eyed customer grabbed it shortly after it was listed—even before I could share it in this Journal.
God Bless and Take the Queen.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248