Within hours of of her passing, Politico published a lengthy obituary of Queen Elizabeth II entitled "The Short, Unhappy Life of Elizabeth Windsor." That title is meant to surprise -- Queen Elizabeth was 96 years old when she died. She lived to see the births of several of her great-grandchildren. We should, all of us, be grateful to live for such a "short" time.
But the point is that, while her life as Queen was long, her own, personal life lasted for just a few of those years. She was only 10 when her uncle Edward VIII abdicated, leaving her father king and her the heir apparent. After her 1947 wedding, Elizabeth was able to live as herself again for a few short years in Malta, where her husband Philip served as a naval officer. But her father's early death in 1952 changed all that -- for the next 70 years, Elizabeth II took center stage and Elizabeth Windsor, a woman with interests, opinions, preferences, had hardly any public existence at all.
Of course, this was the key to her success as a monarch. While those who knew her well describe the Queen as a close follower of politics and world events, and she had clear favorites in the political realm—she was quite close to the Labour leaders Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan, while her relationship to the Conservative Margaret Thatcher was reportedly frosty—Elizabeth was conscious of the supra-political nature of her role.
And in the world we live in, where every movie we watch, magazine we read, and friendship we attempt to maintain is sucked down into the morass of politics, that is a rare and precious thing. The Queen's success at remaining above the fray is precisely why, in our acrimonious age, her subjects continued to love her.
Which is why there is reason for concern about her son, King Charles III. We all know of his green enthusiasms, the environmentalist causes he's championed as the heir apparent, from solar panels, to electric cars, to biomass. We all laughed when he gushed about his Aston Martin running on wine and cheese. We were a bit more perturbed on the numerous occasions when he broke into his Henry V-meets-Klaus Schwab imitation, saying things like, "We need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector, with trillions at its disposal. We have to put ourselves on... a warlike footing,” and when he sympathized with the extremists from Extinction Rebellion. But many of his countrymen—certainly most of this author's British and Canadian friends—held out hope that, when the time came, he would follow his mother's example and disappear beneath the crown.
For those people, now his subjects, recent reports have been disappointing. Details are hard to come by—the focus in Britain remains on the departed Queen—but the BBC has reported that Charles's confidants say he has no intention of backing down on "climate change." And the politics website Guido Fawkes has heard that the King made it a point to emphasize his dedication to "the protection of the climate and the planet" on a phone call with French president Emmanuel Macron.
In his first address as king, Charles reflected upon the life of his mother, and said "I, too, now solemnly pledge myself, throughout the remaining time God grants me, to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation." But, as the Queen well understood, the "constitutional principles" to which he refers include the apolitical nature of the monarchy. Those principles were, of course, established on the blood of Englishmen over the course of the English Civil War, a conflict which saw the present king's predecessor, Charles I, executed for his refusal to accept the primacy of parliament in the political affairs of the nation. After the original Charles's death, the monarchy was dissolved and British Commonwealth was ruled by the murderous Puritan dictator, Oliver Cromwell.
Those events should serve as a warning to the new King Charles. The institution he now presides over finds itself in a tenuous position. If he isn't careful, as his mother was, it could all come tumbling down.
We’ve lost our beloved Queen and no amount of wishing is going to change that. And it’s what we all feared when her Platinum Jubilee was held at 70 years rather than 75. Judith (mummy) has been crying off and on since we got the news and I’ve done my best to keep from further upsetting her. I didn’t expect to find myself at my childhood home in St John’s Wood on this day but if I’m honest, I really did expect Elizabeth's reign to continue on forever. As Daddy said, we’ve known nothing else. She was queen when I was born in British Hong Kong and when my grandmother was said to have tucked a small framed photo of HRH into my pram.
Daddy has taken Judith to tea nearly every day, which has stopped her from watching the telly nonstop, and bracing when she sees Camilla. In the end I’m sure she’ll come round but for now she won’t accept Charles as our sovereign. Given how many have rung to ask her to clarify the rule, I believe she’s not alone. Canada, which still has the queen on its currency, opposes Charles succeeding his mother by 67 percent. A rather inauspicious start for the prince who has so valiantly fought for our planet.
Walking back from my first (and last) British Military Fitness Class I couldn’t help but notice a sea of brightly coloured cellophane. We were told it would not be the miles of flowers we saw at Diana’s death and that arrangements would be ‘sensitively moved’ to Green Park, but what they hadn’t addressed was the impact on our landfill. And in response I quickly organised tables with stewards to remove the plastic wrap so that the flowers could more easily be composted and replanted. I felt the queen would have wanted no less, and as we transition to a green-minded king, it was the thing to do.
I would have volunteered myself but I’d promised to take over tea-duty with Judith for today. She was in black of course and immediately told me that her single brooch was in good taste— having been her mother’s. And again reminded me that, ‘Your grandmother and the Queen were of an age’. As if I could possibly be allowed to forget. She also warned me that she wouldn’t be able to eat a thing. A warning that became less credible after devouring two plates of sandwiches.
We didn’t see anyone she knew but then one rarely does. And I was sure everyone she knew was still ringing the house to discuss the title of Queen Consort and dashed hopes of a morganatic marriage. Yet somehow, this was not an appropriate topic for our tea. Or so she said. I wanted to keep her mind away from her sadness but not so far away as to have to hear what I knew was coming:
‘Now Jennifer’ she began. UGH! I motioned for another glass of champagne. ‘You do understand that once King… Charles can no longer involve himself in all your pet green projects’.
‘I thought you were putting a stop to that’ I responded.
‘I just thought it right, that someone say something to you—to break the news’.
‘That the Queen has died?’ I asked.
She found that remark uncalled for and perhaps she was right but she really could be a pain, and this outing was for her benefit. The last thing I wanted right now was to be sitting for tea when I’d learned mourners were now leaving Paddington bears and marmalade sandwiches WRAPPED IN PLASTIC for the queen.
For a moment I wondered if Judith had read the note I penned to the new King Charles, urging him not to drop all of our good works, and to continue to be a defender of the planet, but in the end I think she was just trying to be a mother for a change. In my letter to Charles I’d reminded him that he was possibly the most significant environmental figure of all time, and that he could not abandon Terra Carta… no matter anything! As prince he could act as a one-person NGO, but as king he would be constrained by the convention that the monarch should not interfere in the U.K.’s political decision-making, or take any overt political stance. I reminded him that the environment isn’t politics, it's life.
Many people feel that as Prince, Charles overstepped the bounds of constitutional monarchy, including his blistering attack on corporate vested interests. But it has always been understood that this freedom would end as soon as he took the crown. So I believe it is important that he re-brand his stance—not as one of advocacy, but one of responsibility. Less focus on agenda, and more on serving the best interests of the country.
I explained that we have evolved as a country, and in time I believe he will be able to continue his lobbying at the highest political level, as he has done rather effectively with his black spider letters. And as the Tories have always been the conservators of the land there should be no risk of his agenda being seen as partisan or political… simply important. During his confidential weekly meetings with the Prime Minister he will be able to air his concerns over the environment and world climate.
When I got home Daddy handed me the paper, the headline read: 'World leaders to travel to Funeral by bus, commercial plane'. Surely he could not be serious. This was a mistake. ‘NO!’ I shrieked.
‘I thought you’d be happy to see this—it’s the green solution, smaller carbon footprint and all that’, Daddy said smirking.
Ugh! How does he not get this? Along with world leaders we are the ones saving the planet. We are the ones taking up this very important task. In the same way that failing corporations must pay more to attract top talent… we certainly should not be punished or dissuaded by making us fly commercial.
The Jubilee is upon us and it’s time for the literal rubber to hit the road. The green road that is. I just flew back to London from Davos where I received a Schwab Foundation Award and it occurred to me, the queen herself was the one who needed to deliver our message, and it was up to me to tell her. The question was exactly how? There would be no tree-hugger shenanigans on my part (one can’t save the planet from jail). And one can’t expect to be taken seriously if one looks (and likely smells) like a Neanderthal. So I committed to use my not-inconsequential influence and hoped it wouldn’t end with a call to Daddy’s solicitor.
It had been nearly a year since the queen addressed the world at the COP26 (the Conference of Parties) and it was then that climate change had gone from being a fringe issue to a global priority. But with so many other things on her mind, (like those pesky Sussexes) I assumed she could use a little help. Britain, at this year’s World Economic Forum, had made a rather dismal showing: No Prince Charles, no Bono, no Elton… not even Swampy, who incidentally has changed his name back to Dan.
First things first—I’d have to ditch my parents. Daddy was taking us to view the activities from the roof of Westminster Abbey before making our way over to The Goring for the ceremonial cutting of Her Majesty’s royal fruit cake. All in all, a very special day no matter the occasion. My parents are generally not such the social rovers, but Daddy is a Briton through and through, a traditionalist, a conservative, a Tory (we forgive him) and a monarchist. And the Queen’s Jubilee was not coming around again.
He was an engineer by trade, and in service of the crown when I was born in British Hong Kong. I don’t think Judith (Mummy) ever fully adjusted to living abroad. Or London. Or anything terribly domestic for that matter, but her great-grandfather had come up the hard way, and was crestfallen when the Queen Charlotte's Ball was ended; and she had to marry a promising engineer over the prospects of a proper coming-out. Any way you sliced it, this was the closest they would come to the monarchy, or paying their grateful respects to a life spent in service of the British people.
From the roof of Westminster Abbey, Daddy pointed out the characteristic Gothic features, and of particular interest to him, the continental design of geometrical proportion and wide English transepts. He also pointed out the most recent restoration—decay that was caused by weathering and pollution from coal smoke. I saw this as my sign to head out. ‘Ma’am’ I would say…’I’ve just come from atop the Abbey, where coal…’ Hmm…maybe no.
I’d called in half a dozen favours… not one of which had come back to me with any good news but no matter, off I went—through the maze of security and crowds the likes of which London has never seen. I had, on my phone, pictures of my recent meeting with Prince Charles, my Davos award, my Paris Match cover photo, and for added measure… older photos of me on the British Equestrian Team. Of course I didn’t imagine I’d use these photos to gain entry but I’d used positive visualisation techniques to prepare for this day, and well… they couldn’t hurt.
It also didn’t hurt that I looked like a million bucks. Mummy had turned up with this hat before I looked for the dress. We’d sort of reverse-engineered the ensemble but it worked, as did my plan. I’ll never, ever give up the details of how I got in, but suffice it to say, a Cheltenham girl’s got to have a few tricks up her sleeve and once Charles recognised me… he moved toward me in the most welcoming way, as though I’d been expected all along. And up we went.
It nearly killed me not to want to look up to where Daddy and Judith were perched, sort of like not being able to look at oneself in the monitor when taping a segment, but I was now the model of calm reserve and focus. And I had work to do. Charles broke the ice by saying ‘I don’t think we can count on monkeypox to cut down on commuters, and production and CO2 output this go round’. Of course he was right, Britons—and really the world, had had it. They were not going to be locked down again even if it helped the planet.
But the queen took a more sanguine tack. She was all smiles, and enjoying the day, knowing her commonwealth was in good hands. I mentioned to her that everyone agrees, the most important message she had delivered in the last decade, had been in Scotland for COP26.
Just then a text from Daddy: ‘Oh for God's sake Jennifer. DO NOT mention Charles’ delusion that his Jaguar actually runs on wine and cheese’. Followed by ‘And do not bang on about eating bugs either!’.
We’d discussed their so-called ‘Green Champions’ that getting new efficient boilers for all the royal residences was just good stewardship, (albeit a £369 million expenditure of public funds). That turning Gloucestershire organic just meant Charles wanted to eat organic produce himself, and preservation efforts meant no future development infringing on any of the royal retreats.
‘They won’t be asking for windmills at Sandringham’, Daddy had once quipped. Imaginary solutions to imaginary problems he called it.
But today, in the queen, I saw a mother. One who wanted the best for her subjects and her children. She had just been protecting the things that mattered to her, as she had always done. Different times, different things. Once it had been Norman or Saxon or Celt.
And I wondered if Daddy was right, that there was no correlation between atmospheric CO2 and mean global temperatures, but today we needn’t discuss all that. And after a small push for eating bugs in schools, I assured her that the planet was in good hands. Just then she asked me, ‘Have you any siblings, Miss Kennedy?’
‘I do not, Your Majesty’, I replied. 'It's just the three of us'.
‘Pity', she said. 'I should think you’d thrive in a large family. Who knows what the future holds? Fate can surprise you’.
Now, what do you suppose she meant by that?
The President of the United States, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., who is 79 years old and suffering from senile dementia at the end of a long life of bullying, lying, boasting, conniving, grifting, grafting, and living off the public tit to an extent indecent even by Washington standards, declared war on Russia on Friday. In the course of a typically blustering, hectoring speech, the senescent Biden went off script and interpolated the following peroration: "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power."
To which the only proper response is: "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in the Oval Office." Joe Biden needs to be removed from the White House as soon as possible, before his failing mind, his erratic behavior, and his proven lack of character get us all killed. The question is, is there enough political will in the capital to do what needs to be done?
Biden's blunder was immediately walked back by the few adults left in the room, called a "gaffe," or—worse—actually defended by the neocons and other leftists as truth-telling on a heroic scale, evocative of Ronald Reagan's 1987 "tear down this wall" speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, which two years later actually did result in the Wall coming down. But his rash words continue to ring, now matter how swiftly his handlers and apologists and even Biden himself try to make us disbelieve our own lying ears:
Mush-mouthed as usual, and delivered with all the Scrantonian sincerity of one of his typical campaign speeches, Biden's address was not only the low-water mark of his presidency so far, but a nadir in the history of the United States and its practice of diplomacy.
As bad as the State Department is, it's generally been able to enforce some sort of diplomatic protocol on even its loosest cannons. Barack Hussein Obama's spectacular breach of etiquette in his toast to Queen Elizabeth in 2011 was a notable exception. On the other hand, Donald Trump's own Warsaw speech in 2017 was a triumph of forceful, cogent argumentation and a full-throated defense of Western civilization.
But for Biden to end his intemperate saber-rattling with a call for Vladimir Putin to be deposed is something nearly unprecedented in our nation's history. George H.W. Bush, during his feckless and pointless war against Saddam Hussein, effectively did so, at least as a hypothetical, and characteristically hedged his bets:
'I would be be willing to take a new look if the army took matters into their own hands,' said Bush, who noted that the United States would not resume normal relations with Iraq as long as Saddam remains in power. 'If a new regime emerged then I'd like to see what their goals are.' Despite his claim that Saddam 'has got to go,' Bush said again that it is not his intention to involve the United States in Iraq's internal affairs.
But Saddam wasn't deposed, and it was left to Bush II to clean up Poppy's mess, by making an even bigger one.
During his long occupation of a Senate seat, Biden served for many years on the foreign-relations committee, and learned all the wrong lessons without acquiring an ounce of real-world savvy. This is the problem with electing a lifelong senator to the presidency with no prior executive experience except ribbon-cutting ceremonies and attending foreign funerals as veep. Senators' words have no real-world consequences; presidents' do. Senators can say anything they want, because their words carry no executive authority and they cannot be legally held accountable for them. They're meant for the ears of voters back home, not for the guy in the Kremlin with his finger on the button.
For 50 years this creepy blowhard has been dining out off his dead wife and daughter, and more recently, a dead son, parlaying sympathy votes into a lifetime sinecure. Now, by accident/design/hook/crook he's Potus. And God help us, by calling for regime change in Moscow, he's just given the Russians a casus belli, should they choose to accept it. They would be perfectly within their rights to do so under the laws of war.
All in all, it's just another hair-raising moment in the funhouse ride from hell that has been the Biden "presidency" so far. Robinette Junior came to D.C. in the 1970s and he's brought the '70 back along with him to the White House: flaccid leadership, an energy crisis, rampant inflation, and consummate failure abroad. Even the lickspittle media can't disguise the stench of his latest poll numbers:
Amid Europe’s largest land war since World War II, 7 in 10 Americans expressed low confidence in President Joe Biden’s ability to deal with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a new NBC News poll, and 8 in 10 voiced worry that the war will increase gas prices and possibly involve nuclear weapons. And during the nation’s largest inflation spike in 40 years, overwhelming majorities said they believe the country is headed in the wrong direction and disapproved of the president’s handling of the economy. Those are some of the major findings of the new national NBC News poll, which found that Biden’s overall job approval rating had declined to 40 percent, the lowest level of his presidency.
This simply cannot continue if the nation is to survive. The stumbling block, of course, is what would come after him should he be removed via the 25th amendment or suffer an unfortunate act of God or simply reach the end of his rapidly diminishing physical and mental capacity: President Kamala Harris. A vapid affirmative-action female-type person without the slightest aptitude for any job she's so far been handed by the Democratic establishments in California and D.C., she very likely would be even worse than her current boss, at least for the short time she, too, would hold office.
But take heart: there is precedent. During the Democrat/Washington Post coup against Richard Nixon in 1974, the first order of business was to remove Tricky Dick's veep, the genially corrupt Spiro T. Agnew, the former Baltimore County executive and governor of Maryland, on conveniently discovered charges of penny-ante bribery, extortion, and income-tax violations. Such things were and remain part of the way business is done in Baltimore—just ask the former Nancy d'Alesandro, now Speaker Pelosi, about corruption in Baltimore—but they suddenly loomed large when it was time to overturn the results of the 1972 presidential election, which saw Nixon win 60.7 percent of the popular vote, carry 49 states (he lost only Massachusetts and D.C.), and garner 520 electoral votes.
Less than two years later, both Agnew (replaced by congressman Gerald Ford) and Nixon were gone. So it can be done, and perfectly legally. And don't worry—if Biden were to leave office early, Nancy Pelosi would not automatically become vice president. The succession pecking order only kicks in when both the senior executive offices suddenly become vacant.
Removing Biden shouldn't be that difficult. Section 4 reads:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
There's a catch, of course:
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.
Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
We can cross that Rubicon when we come to it. America at this point in her history is no country for old men, no matter which party they belong to.
ELLIS ...What you got ain't nothin' new. This country is hard on people. Hard and crazy. Got the devil in it yet folks never seem to hold it to account. BELL I'm... discouraged. ELLIS You can't stop what's comin. Ain't all waitin' on you.
The two men look at each other. Ellis shakes his head. ELLIS ...That's vanity.
In the meantime, and for the sake of the nation, Biden must go.
Annabel has transformed her country house into a glittering wonderland for my birthday celebration, there are fairy lights and flowers as far as the eye can see. I would say she really shouldn’t have done, but with England finally emerging from Covid restrictions, we all need a celebration, and the prettier the better.
She’s calling the party ‘It’s just wine and cheese’ as a play on the very naughty lockdown-busting parties at No. 10 which exposed Boris and Carrie’s bacchanalia, now officially dubbed #partygate. And swiftly followed by a Labour MP calling Boris out for being ‘surrounded by alcohol, food, and people wearing tinsel’.
Normally I’d be on their side but Boris, (who daddy claims was never liked by anybody) is not doing himself any favours being joined by third wife Carrie, who it is rumoured ‘cuts dead anyone who isn’t useful to her’. My frustration with the newly-minted Mrs Johnson is the pall she casts on those of us who are truly committed to saving the planet.
Apparently when she’s not furiously texting 25 missives per hour to her PM hubby, or seeing anyone who threatens her sacked, she finds time to be a senior advisor to Oceana, a charity dedicated to protecting the oceans. What she obviously doesn’t realise is that when one puts oneself forth as a beacon of righteousness, and a caretaker of the planet; there is a responsibility not to be smugly sanctimonious or hypocritical.
I texted my father to ask if he felt I was being too harsh and he rang me right back: ‘Maybe not too harsh but why do you green-niks seem to use wine and cheese as the excuse for everything? Prince Charles also tried to excuse his grossly inefficient car by claiming it too ran on excess wine and cheese’.
I had forgotten that… Ugh. But I continued, ‘I just mean, is it too much to think she shouldn’t put herself out as a climate activist if she’s going to make us look bad?’
‘I think she’s showing real team spirit—like most of your clients, circumnavigating the globe in private jets to talk about saving it. That is what you do isn’t it?
I was quiet.
‘Listen… ’ he continued, ‘Forgive the tinsel and frankly forgive the gold wallpaper—£840 a roll isn’t exactly Ceaușescu territory’.
'She bought gold wallpaper?’ I asked.
‘Well, eventually, yes. But first she tried to get taxpayers to pay for it, and then some scheme with a private donor before Boris finally shelled out the £14k. But give the girl credit—she did get us to pay for her gold iPad, which was £538. Her email explains it was for ‘a special advisor’.
‘Now if you ask your mother,’ he continued…
OMG there’s more?
‘Mummy’s more put off by the fact that Miss Symonds made the Queen uncomfortable by sharing a room with Boris at Balmoral whilst still an unmarried couple. But in truth, only Carrie was unmarried, Boris was married—just not to her.’
‘So I’m not off base to say she makes us all look bad—yes?’
‘Well, OK, yes, but I think that little troll with the braids shouting “how dare you-how dare you” was really a low point’.
Daddy had a point. ‘So I take a stand against her?’ I asked.
‘An actual stand? Jennifer, you’re not really going to vilify the gal who made Boris do a volte-face on climate change are you? He’s one of you now… fully committed even though that same set of facts initially lead him to say that climate concern is “without foundation”.'
Umm… no. I was not going to take down the girl pouring green into the ear of our PM. Still, I felt this was bad for her to be using the planet as her platform to promote herself, and being a huge hypocrite. But save that for another day… it’s my birthday!
As always Annabel gets the best people to come, and such an interesting range. She introduced me as single-handedly saving our planet, and also rather surprisingly… spilled the beans about my biggest client following with ‘But mum’s the word on that.’ Gotta be the wine and cheese talking.
One person who remembered me from my equestrian days, said; ’So… environment, way cool. And you must be thrilled that your colleague is right there at No. 10'.
WOT? Had she been reading my mind? I downed my glass of champagne and moved to chat with someone else—a gentleman who only met me today as the birthday girl and via Annabel’s introduction. He introduced himself as James and squired me to a slightly less crowded corner before leaning in as though telling me some state secret…
’Just a quick note about the current Mrs. Boris… look out', he said. I wanted to say too late for that…she’s invading my birthday! But I asked, exactly what for?
‘Just as a sort of birthday present… I’m telling you don’t join forces. They might well be sent packing after all'.
And with that, he began to tell me much more than Daddy had done. Apparently Mrs. PM had given her friends the secure passcode to enter No. 10 when popping over for tea or to play draughts, or as turned out to be the case… to snoop around in Boris’ office where in fact, some classified documents had gone missing. This was bigger than tinsel.
She is also known to be heard whispering in the background of Zoom calls, telling Boris what to do when she disagrees. And when it suits, physically taking his phone and sending directives out to anyone and everyone… often taking positions of which he is entirely unaware. Only to find himself insisting the next day in meetings that he has taken no such position. And even then to return home at day’s end, and be instructed to call back and completely reverse his position again.
What to do with all of this information? I am not sure… right now it’s my #partygate.