The Queen

After a tiring day at work when I got back home yesterday, I was at a loss as to what to do. I decided to catch up on the movie that I had left halfway quite a couple of times. The movie was Stephen Frears “The Queen”, Best motion Picture, 2006. It is quite a watch really. And more so because of its subtlety. No violence, no hugging, no kissing, no crying. Just those silent scenes that pass and still leave you loaded with emotions. (Well, you can’t expect any more, considering the fact that it is based on the British royal family. I had once read this somewhere: “The British royal family are allowed to hug only dogs and horses.”)   The beauty of this movie is that it makes you wonder about both Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth and all that they stand for. At one moment you really are on Princess Di’s side and the next moment you sympathize with the Queen. It makes you wonder about what would it be like to be in their shoes.

Never seeing eye to eye, even in the picture

There is not much that I remember of Princess Di’s death. After all, I was just 7 then. The only thing I seem to remember about it is Princess Diana haircuts that were oh so fashionable then. But I don’t think it ever looked as amazing as it did on the Princess. She was a woman of style. Beautiful, elegant, generous, loving, warm-hearted. She was what Tony Blair rightly described as “The People’s Princess”. Apparently Princess Diana was the first English woman to be named princess by marriage in three hundred years. She was a role model to the people of Britain, an idol of philanthropic work who influenced, helped and nurtured millions of people across the globe. She was also a little crazy. Attention-seeking, as a lot of people would describe her as. But these are the superficial facts that we know about her. Have we ever considered what made her do all the things she did? The affairs, the love of paparazzi and even the philanthropic zest. I think it all emerged from the basic human urge to be cared for, to be loved and above all, to be understood. Once in an interview she was asked if she would ever be the Queen. She said she wouldn’t but that she would like to be the queen of the people’s hearts. And that is exactly what she was.

Now coming to the “queen”. Firstly, Helen Mirren has done a superb job. The role of the queen is not an easy job.  In the movie, yes, but more, I feel, in real life. She is always coming out as a strong, tight lipped, shrewd, disciplined, maybe sometimes a little snobbish woman, unrelenting of anything that doesn’t follow the “book”. Yes, it does sound annoying, especially to my mind. (For me anything that doesn’t bend the rules for change is old fashioned) But the movie, for the first time made me think of her perspective. She has been brought up with the fact that she is “Godsent” for the people. To look after them, to take care of them, to advise them. I think its quite natural for someone from her generation to not understand what Diana did. To believe in the monarchy, to try to do what she thought was right. Irrespective of the fact that the world is new, the people are new. They are changing every moment. They are changing what they want, what they have and what they would like to have (Yes, they are three different things.). It is like the generation gap that we all have with our parents. We know they are different, they know we are different but still we can never find the point where we can meet. But she did. The Queen did, when the Princess died. And that is what made me feel for her.

They are both strong women. Women of power, however different the kind of power is. One who rules one of the strongest nations in the world and the other who ruled the hearts of the people of that nation. They were both correct, for their own good.  They are both “The Queen”, in pursuit of happiness in the only way they both knew. Because all we want to do in this world is be happy, isn’t it?