Being A Queen
I remember being fascinated with queens at a very early age. Some of it came from having fairy tales read to me and then reading them myself. Even though there were sometimes "bad queens", I rationalized that they weren't legit. And, since they often met an unpleasant end, I figured it was deserved (I think I became more compassionate with age).
It might be that growing up in and around Boston, birthplace of the American Revolution, I also felt as if we were still a tiny bit connected to England which I always associate with monarchy.
One other frame of reference was a TV show called "Queen for a Day". It was originally a radio show in 1945 that transitioned to television in 1947 and ran until 1964! I don't think I
watched it much past the age of 7, although the show continued for a few years after. This was the 1950's and I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's and she had a TV. I know there were some children's shows, but they were mostly on the weekends it seemed. "Grammy" kept the television on in the background while she was busy taking care of her house.
I "googled" the show QFAD and was able to see a couple of episodes. Basically, four women would tell her sad life stories, her trials and tribulations to the host (a former vaudeville performer) and the audience would vote, via an applause-o-meter, for the one with the most heart-wrenching tale. The winner would then be dressed in a crown, a velvet cape, and receive a dozen roses. She also won things like a washing machine, oven & range, and a watch "with a diamond on each side" so that "she could be on time for everything".
Watching these black & white videos, I was struck by how sad some of the winners looked. I'm sure, even in the 1950's, women did not picture queens doing the laundry, cooking dinner every night, or looking at their watch to make sure they got the kids to their appointments at the correct hour. Simply putting on an ermine-trimmed robe and some sparkly headgear does not make a queen.
As I got older, I still felt in awe of queens both from the past and of the present. I came to understand that the benevolent queens have a great deal of responsibility, too. While privileged, they also have the "job" of uplifting the people in their queendom and creating an environment that allows her people the opportunity to "do for themselves". In order to do her job well, she needs to be brave, mindful, graceful, and to consider carefully how her choices impact and empower the lives of others. I love that the most commanding piece in chess is the queen who is able to move in any direction on the board. I'm also thrilled that any woman who is regarded as excellent, outstanding, and who is highly respected in her field is called a queen as in the "queen of tango" or "queen of mystery authors".
Many of us are fascinated by queens. Several movies and television shows have featured and been centered around them, especially most recently The Crown and Victoria. As I reflect on queens I've "known" or read about, I've come to the conclusion that the women on Queen For a Day really were already queens before they ever got on the show. They just didn't know it and no one was about to enlighten them. I wonder if things have changed all that much?