Depuis le Golden Jubilee de 2002, puis avec l’anniversaire de ses 80 ans en 2006, Elisabeth II voit son peuple exprimer son affection grandissante pour une reine qui atteint désormais le grand âge. La célébration du D-Day témoigne de cet attachement des Britanniques envers leur monarque.
Last Saturday, the Queen visited a flower market at the heart of Paris. The square is to be renamed in her honour. In the final act of her visit, she unveiled a plaque at the site before flying back home for a well-earned rest.
The fact is that Queen Elizabeth is the only one, of all the nineteen heads of states, who stayed in France for three days after the D-Day commemoration. The affection of the Britons for their Queen is showing and growing with the visit. “She’s wonderful! At 88, she is always interested in everything”, said a British tourist in Paris. “It is most likely the last time we will see her in France, it’s important to see her once in your life, she’s the Queen! She’s the last big monarch in Europe!”, a Frenchman also said. For her fifth official visit in France, and probably one of her last, Queen Elizabeth is far from being an anachronistic Queen…
An emotional day of celebrations to commemorate the D-Day landings in northern France during 1944 ended with a banquet for 19 visiting heads of state at the Elysee Palace in Paris. In her speech, the 88-year-old monarch described the emotions stirred by these D-Day celebrations.
She also shared her joy in becoming a great grandmother and said peace and prosperity must be tended so that, “never again do we have cause to build monuments to our fallen youth”. She succeeded in projecting the countries into the future, referring to the importance of the new generations, “the hopes and innate potential of young people are the same in all nations and on all continents. The decisions we make should always be designed to enlarge their horizons and enrich their future, from caring for our environment to preventing conflict”. The speech highlighted her legitimacy as her country’s Queen. Indeed, listing the struggles and challenges of today’s people, the Queen proved she wasn’t stuck in the past.
Alternating between English and French, the Queen explained that both countries were linked “by this unique mix of friendship, good humoured rivalry and admiration”. Using French when she talked about emotions, “j’ai cultivé une grande affection pour le peuple français”, she proved how skilful a diplomat she was. The speech could be regarded as a model for all diplomats. As Walter Bagehot’ once said: the Sovereign isn’t limited to three rights, “the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn”, but also has honouring and international duties.
Théo PAPAZIAN & Jérémie UZAN