I was brought up on pictures of real-life kings and queens: of princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses. Mum loved the photos of the royals in glossy publications, such as the Australian Women’s Weekly magazines, in the fifties and sixties. She identified with the growing family of the young Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh, who was Elizabeth’s loyal consort until near the end.

I’d stood in a line on the side of hot roads in 1954 when I was ten, to catch a glimpse of the Queen and Duke when they visited 52 towns and villages across the country. We children believed in the fairy story we’d been fed about Kings and Queens.

Pictures of the royal family were often accompanied by photos of horses and dogs. My mother was married to a (struggling) grazier, and her own background was in farming. Mum’s burgeoning family soon matched that of the Queen in London.

At the same time, Mum aspired to modernity. The gadgets coming out of the United Sates of America — newspaper pictures of sexy electric stoves and movies showing shiny washing machines — sang to her across the waves.

I was nine when King George the Fifth died and Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth the Second. Her father had suffered from a bad stutter, just as President Joe Biden has done all of his life. My future husband would become devoted to finding a cause for this horrible affliction.

Synchronicities — strange coincidences — begin to attach themselves to my story.

Later on, our daughter, at three years of age, presented a blossom she’d plucked from our frangipani tree, to Princess Diana, after we’d waited at Sydney Airport to catch a glimpse of the younger royal couple. All of us back then, had been enthralled by the wedding, and then devastated in the nineties, when the fairy tale ended.

Many of us grieved for the Princess and the royal family. They suffered through the tragedy of a divorce and a car crash in Paris. None suffered more than the two young princes, William and Harry.

Through it all, Queen Elizabeth remained stoic, in spite of personal upheavals, conspiracy theories and even terrorist attacks that were rocking the royal boat. You had to admire the strength, courage and devotion to duty of this woman. Like all families, hers was far from perfect and reflected the divisions and dynamics that rocked those of her subjects.

Even though I have been playing a part in moving toward a Republic in Australia, I could not fail to see the virtues of her person. Like her predecessor, Queen Elizabeth I, she brought something special to her long reign.

And like a lot of women, she died alone, after the death of her Prince.

Queen Elizabeth on her own after the death of Prince Phillip.

Feature Photo: By Willgard on Pixabay id 4695849. The photo of a fantasy castle and an ethereal-looking woman observing it from nature is a reflection of my own background relationship with royalty, nature and fantasy.