Let’s admit it. The media had a great time with the death of Queen Elizabeth II. We were able to witness all the pomp and circumstance, the long lines of hundreds of men, women and children patiently waiting to pay their last respects, Britain in deep mourning. Some commentators have praised Her Majesty’s love for her people, her charm, her devotion to the UK. Others pointed to the lack of democracy in the monarchy and its colonial history.
As I am from Holland, also a monarchy, the news from England reminded me of my childhood and the role our queen played there. I found myself thinking of an old framed picture of Queen Wilhelmina above the fireplace in our living room. Unlike her recent British counterpart, she didn’t look very regal. More like a rugged Dutch housewife – clad in storm gear and chunky rubber boots while monitoring the construction of the Afsluit Dijk, the 32 kilometer dam and causeway across the Zuider Zee (shallow creek of the North Sea) between 1927 and 1932.