Young Elizabeth with a smiling dog


Of course, yesterday’s death of Queen Elizabeth took over conversation worldwide. I thought for a while on the role thrust upon her, then, on how other people have dealt with a sudden burden. Scale may be irrelevant – I’m not done thinking about this yet.

Perhaps your healthy partner suddenly needs full-time care, or, more in parallel to the subject, a company CEO’s tasks must suddenly be assumed. Regardless of the scenario, what these have in common is plans and dreams changed, forever.

I’ve never seen this next thing talked about. It’s only after my surprised reading between the lines of a book that I’ve come to my next idea.

The man the world knew as Mr. Rogers, Fred Rogers, was passionate about becoming a songwriter. He went to college to get better at music, meeting Joanne, the woman who’d become his wife. She has said he was the darling of their college crowd of future artists, always at the piano. The shiny-eyed youth approached music publishers, only to be told – go write a barrel-full of songs, and then come back. No problem. This future star was in the groove.

Being the Queen of England hadn’t been in Elizabeth’s plans, but she took it on and made it hers. She stepped into harness and threw the reins to Parliament and to the British people, enduring the constant gaze and gossip, but she’s no saint. She failed at several family relationships, making her just like us. I feel I see the real Elizabeth in the photos of her I like best – informal, with her horses or her pets; the latter refined into a media-friendly, carmel-and-cream herd of corgis.

People ignored her sacrifices to judge and ridicule her final, most noble task: ensuring the newest Prime Minister was safely embedded in the office.

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