Queen Elizabeth II at Queen’s Park (July 6 2010)

Name: Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor a.k.a Her Majesty, Elizabeth ll, Queen of Canada

Date of Birth: April 21, 1926

Citizenship: Sixteen countries — Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Belize, Granada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, United Kingdom

Occupation: Hereditary monarch of 16 Realms and Territories (130 million people), hereditary head of the Commonwealth of Nations (two billion people), hereditary Supreme Governor of the Church of England (1.7 million people)

Address: Buckingham Palace, Hampton Court Palace, St. James’s Palace, Kensington Palace, The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle, Clarence House, Sandringham House, various Government Houses in her Realms and Territories including Rideau Hall, Ottawa

Financial Worth: +/ – $500,000,000 (most inherited)

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, is 86 years old and celebrates her Diamond Jubilee as Queen of Canada and 15 other countries this weekend.

She is, by most accounts, actually two different and distinct people.

One — a decent, honourable, dedicated woman close to the end of her life and reign who takes her responsibilities very seriously, works very hard and believes passionately in her God, her job and her duty.

The other — an imperious, autocratic, cold and isolated Prisoner of the Palace who lives a world away from her Canadian realm, is a relic of Britain’s not-always-glorious imperial and colonial past and the ultimate personification of its still crippling class system.

So what do her 34-million Canadian subjects know of this woman who inherited the title “Supreme Liege Lady in and over Canada” 60 years ago, along with all her other mystic, shamanic titles, status and powers?

Generations of journalists have followed her every move, written endless Elizabethan stories since before she was conceived, much less born. But she’s never once beeninterviewed.

Most reporting fawns on her as some sort of unknowable, untouchable deity. Even the salacious British tabloids go easy on the old lady.

Google shows that “Queen Elizabeth 2” gets about 11,300,000 results. Which means there’s an awful lot of words about her floating through the ether. But almost none of those words are critical: as in analytical or interpretative.

Her royalty, importance and value, her very being, seem to be articles of faith like the Abrahamic religions’ belief in a last judgment and some sort of resurrection.

But if you dig deeper there are clues about who she is, how she sees herself, what she does, and why she does it. Because, unlike the rest of us who have to live with a mere Ms. or Mr. description, she comes fully-equipped with a whole catalogue of descriptive titles.

Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

Are these merely words dreamed up by long-dead English monarchs for their own and their descendants aggrandizement? Or do the titles, the brand, actually mean something?

Particularly to Elizabeth.

And Canada.


This article was originally published on the Huffington Post on May 28, 2012: The Two Faces of Queen Elizabeth

This series was adapted from Knight’s proposal for a multi-part TV series on the Queen now in pre-production, seeking sponsors. It will examine her role in each of the 16 nations over which she reigns.

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