I will remain a royalist as long as HRH Queen Elizabeth II reigns. As well as her 90th birthday (April 21st), we should be celebrating all that Her Majesty has done for feminism. You may argue, and base that argument on the fact that as someone so incredibly wealthy who inherited her position cannot possibly be viewed in such a way– let alone sa feminist icon. But in a world still vastly dominated by men; there is something rather comforting and, actually, bloody wonderful about having a strong female monarch at the helm of our country.
1. #ThrowbackThursday. Our very own Queenie contributed to the wartime efforts in the 1940’s, working as truck mechanic in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service and contributing to the lifelong debate that women CAN actually do what men do- who’d have thought?! All jokes aside, this was a vital role for women to play during the Second World War. I think 2nd Lieutenant Elizabeth Windsor deserves somewhat of a salute, don’t you?
2. Liz is, without a shadow of a doubt, a woman’s woman. A member of the Women’s Institute (WI) since 1943 (her princess days), she annually visits the Sandringham branch to enjoy tea and cake with her peers. The WI is an institution who, nowadays, aims to provide women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, enabling them to take take part in a wide variety of activities, and giving them the option to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.
3. The perfect British feminist icon, our (longest reigning, no biggie) monarch is a mother, wife and grandmother, and is often said to frequent the kitchen, cooking and cleaning for her loved ones. Oh, yeah, and she’s the Queen. She was thrust unexpectedly into a position of enormous responsibility at a time when women weren’t offered a crash course in leadership skills. She is many things to many people, and a huge success in each and every one. Who ever said a feminist couldn’t also complete wifely duties?! Is it nothing short of a miracle that she always seems so at ease.
4. Lest we forget, in 1998 when receiving a royal visit from Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, it was our Queen who surprised Abdullah by jumping into the front of his Land Rover and accelerating off to take the then Crown Prince for a ‘tour of the grounds’- aka, a joyride along the narrow Scottish roads. What Abdullah found most unnerving, however, was that Saudi law didn’t (and still doesn’t) allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia- and here he was, being flung around the Scottish countryside, in a Land Rover driven by the HRH the Queen of England.
5. Her Maj would (and will) never let her gender define her, and that is what makes her a true British Feminist Icon. She received her crown a long time before anything that resembled modern feminism emerged. In what can only be described as a really, bloody impressive career, she has earned the respect of world leaders, maintained the dignity of the monarchy into the world we reside in today and quietly overseen the change that will now allow firstborn females to ascend the throne. She has managed to be both feminine and firm in a job; proving critics everywhere wrong. Her gender has always been irrelevant to her capacity to do her job.
She is not the first Queen of England (albeit arguably our best) but sadly, after her reign, will be the last for at least three generations.