Monday, December 2, 2002


One more very fun fact about Elizabeth before I get back to it: she ascended the throne, aged twenty-five, on November 18, 1558, and died March 24, 1603. Consider: her accession was the predicate of her sister Mary dying on that very same day. And her death forty-four years later prompted the accession of James VI of Scotland, now James I of England, he of King James Bible fame.

But listen: it's not James's accession that they're going to be commemorating in England - it's the death of Gloriana. Even with a Bible on his CV, James doesn't cut it! Similarly, November 18 was celebrated years and years after Elizabeth's death as Accession Day or Crownation Day, so one can deduce that there was no particular ceremony accorded the date of a monarch's death. (Actually, the people during Elizabeth's reign sometimes got confused as to what they were celebrating: Elizabeth's accession or Mary's death, but that's a story for another day - or another hour, the way I'm going.)

So the Virgin Queen achieves monopoly over her birth and her death. The rest of us can only hope for so much.

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