We have people in our neighborhood who don’t speak to other neighbors; sometimes, these pathetic behaviors go on for years, long beyond their memory of why they are mad. We have friends whose great great grandparents had a falling out over financial matters, and the descendants of both families still refuse to speak. In fact, they won’t attend a party or gathering if members of the other family will be present. My own great grandfather’s will left various branches of his descendants at odds, and it has been only within my lifetime that cousins have gotten together to enjoy each other. For years, I have been associated with a large American symphony orchestra whose manager is one of my best friends. After knowing each other for all these years, we found out we are second cousins, and our great grandparents were miserable enemies. These kinds of relationships are destructive and meaningless and often cause people to behave in tragic patterns.
England and Ireland have had centuries of “bad blood” between them. These hatreds go back 800 years, and it has been very difficult to overcome the situation in a modern age. Queen Victoria wouldn’t go to Ireland because she thought someone wanted to assassinate her; she was probably right. But her heirs had successful visits to Ireland including Edward VII, George V, and the present Prince of Wales. Prince Charles’s recent trip to Dublin was an attempt to test the waters to see if a State Visit of the Queen would be feasible at this time. At the end of the series CRANFORD, one of the characters in the series asks the question how it is that a town that was pulled apart over the coming of the railroad could again be one thriving and interconnected community. Judi Dench responds to the exasperating question with this remark: LOVE.
I see BRIDGE BUILDING in the House of Windsor these days. I see it in the Royal House itself; the Earl of Harewood and the Duchess of York are excellent examples. I also recognize this quality in her grandson, Prince William. It is a new era, and it is time for old feuds to simply go away. If the Queen can forgive her cousin the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-and Gotha, she has caught the vision, benefits, and necessity of moving beyond unhappiness from long past. This kind of vision comes from age, years of experience, and wisdom which inflamed youth who are ready for a confrontation about issues long gone by fail to understand. When the Queen Mother in her later years was asked about the Duchess of Windsor, she wisely responded that as one gets older, these matters don’t matter so much any more.
The events during the reigns of Richard II, Elizabeth I, Cromwell, and William III are in some cases nearly 800 years ago. Is it not time to put those events behind us in 2011? When I was reading the Prime Minister’s budgets, I noted that over a billion pounds goes to Northern Ireland. I thought to myself, surely Dublin doesn’t wish to take on that expense, especially at this point in Ireland’s financial history. I concluded that this situation is like in my family where generation after generation after generated hated each other simply to carry on old bad behavior. I am certain there are many serious issues to resolve, of course, but must Ireland/Brtain follow the pattern of Middle East where brother wishes to destroy brother? Hasn’t the world had enough of this kind of exchange?
So, we leave this matter to a reigning English sovereign who is 84 years of age and Ireland’s President Mary McAleese to shake hands and agree to move on to a new era. The wisdom of a elderly sovereign sitting on her throne at the right time and in the right place sets the stage for the building of bridges. These are amazing events. After all, how long do people want to hate their neighbor. Two sovereign nations with centuries of Christian traditions know that the world LOVE is the central theme of Savior’s instructions to his followers.
I hope the Sovereign’s State Visit is successful. The Queen’s personality and manner identify her as the perfect person to create a successful visit. I am following this story very carefully. Let’s not fool ourselves, the Queen is a very capable, determined, and perceptive woman. She’s been around for a long time and has seen it all. I think the situation is in good hands. She will like the Irish, and they will like her and her hats!
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918