The British are the kings of monarchical marketing. They have managed to turn a funeral into a dramatic series that kept the interest until the final chapter
“With a funeral like this, it makes me want to die,” my colleague Juan Diego tells me on WhatsApp. Take, of course. And me. What a show. The British are the kings of monarchical marketing. And the BBC, the one for Weddings, Baptisms and Communions, would have to add an F for Funerals to its name after turning the broadcast of Elizabeth II’s funeral honors into the best miniseries of the year. They deserve to win all the Baftas and several Emmys, especially the leading actors: a king and a queen consort who were lovers during their previous marriages, a son stripped of honors due to conduct as unworthy of a ‘royal’ as a vassal , an heir to the throne for whom premature baldness will be the least of his problems, a grandson who has renounced all his duties and no rights, an actress who wanted to turn her life into a movie and a Princess of Wales with so regal that, despite being a commoner, she seems born to reign. And I am sure that our kings, emeritus and not emeritus, take the award for best supporting actor in a dramatic series. Because what a drink.
Today was the final chapter. And it has not disappointed at all: the characters, the soundtrack, the photography (those aerial shots of Westminster Abbey), the setting, the script; all intended so that some images that remain for the future would be enjoyed in the present by an audience that has gathered in cinemas, parks and halls around large and small screens to see the funeral. A British Super Bowl in which Beyoncé’s performance has not even been lacking. Because they have the real queen.
Journey into eternity
And, now, to see who is the handsome one who dies. Who is going to start his journey towards eternity in a coffin arranged on an artillery armón (‘armón’ is the word we have learned at this funeral, just as we learned ‘camarlengo’ when Pope John Paul II died) moved by 142 sailors of the Royal Navy. Who has a piper of his own to play at his funeral. Who will get his photo to replace the images of brand new flats in real estate windows? Who can carry on his coffin a crown, a scepter of command and an orb. Who is going to make the bells of Big Ben ring? And who has so much capacity to convene that all the crowned heads, all the power, political and symbolic, are going to fire him. It won’t be me, of course. I’ll have enough if my baker comes over to say an Our Father.
Isabel II, like El Cid, continues to win battles after her death: not only has she cast her very long shadow on her son and his family, but also on the rest of the European royal houses. This morning, the chiefs of protocol have taken good note while a cold sweat ran down their backs. I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes.
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