Mary and the queen: prepare to have your credulity stretched


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Mary McAleese is a lovely woman – intelligent, caring – but every so often she seems to lose the run of herself. In The Irish Times this morning, for example, she reveals that her husband spent two days on the phone in 2009, persuading loyalists not to retaliate when two British soldiers were killed at Massarene Barracks. The third day the British Secretary of State rang to thank him and later the Chief Constable. Now we all know Martin plays golf with Jackie MacDonald, but does anyone really believe that loyalist paramilitary decisions are made on the back of what Martin McAleese says? Go aisy there, Mary, would you?

She also talks about the amount she worried over the protocol of genuflecting or bowing to “Her Majesty the queen” during a London ceremony to mark the foundation of Queen’s University.

“I don’t do that” she explains. “I don’t kiss bishops’ rings, I don’t curtsey to popes and I don’t curtsey to monarchs”. Neither do an awful lot of us, Mary.

On the other hand, when she had lunch with QE2 (which a lot of us don’t have),  she “was amazed to discover the great interest and the great depth of knowledge she had about Ireland.  She disclosed to me what a heartbreak it was to her that because of the political circumstances she could not visit Dublin or the Republic”.   Great interest and depth of knowledge, eh? And heartbreak because she couldn’t get to Dublin and beyond the Pale. Mmm. That twanging sound you hear is my credulity being elongated.

And when QE2 came to Dublin in 2011,  she was “utterly amazing”, especially at the Garden of Remembrance.  How so? “People’s breaths are stopping. Then she did something that nobody expected. When she stepped back, she nodded. A simple thing, not a word, but a gesture of respect. It won over people almost instantly”.  So the English monarch lays a wreath and gives the smallest of nods and everyone was won over, problem solved, end of story.  Boing! I think something’s happened my credulity.

“There was no word of, you know, ‘sorry for all those generations of domination’. We weren’t expecting that”.  But then she spoke five words of Irish! “In those five words all of the anger, frustration and sense of injustice melt away. Because she is showing such respect for the language, so brilliantly”.  Wow.

For a woman with a first-rate mind and a loving character, Mary sometimes talks some terrible gushing guff. Even worse, she seems to think the rest of us will believe her.

12 Responses to Mary and the queen: prepare to have your credulity stretched

  1. KickBishopBrennanuptheArse December 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Is fíor duit. Pity she didn’t just kick Bishop Brennan up the arse.

    • Des Hughes December 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

      Never warmed to the woman….her manner ….delivery….Belfast accent, you get my drift.

  2. neill December 19, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    Had one to many Eggnogs Jude? ; )

  3. stranger on the bus December 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    I understand your frustration, Jude. My mother, an intelligent woman(and one who will go on and on about the famine and talk derisively about the Hanovers, esp. Charles) somehow becomes a glassy-eyed dolt when Elisabeth appears on screen. I can only imagine what would become of dear old Mom if she were ever in the presence of her majesty.
    I can’t explain it, but old Lizzy definitely seems to have a certain charm about her.

    • Jude Collins December 20, 2013 at 9:21 am #

      I’m afraid it’s a charm that’s wasted on me. When I look at her I am yet again astonished that the English people see fit to choose their head of state in this genetic Russian roulette style.

      • Alan December 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

        The Irish have always had tenderness for little old ladies. It’s the Catholic reverence for the female head of the family coming out. We saw our own granny in QE2 and behaved accordingly.

        A male British monarch will not garner any such affection in Ireland.

  4. giordanobuno December 19, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    Small q for Mrs Saxe-Coburg-Gotha but capital L for Lord Kilclooney?
    Consistency please.

    • Jude Collins December 20, 2013 at 9:19 am #

      Well he is a big and important Lord, isn’t he? Good Lord I should think so.

  5. paul December 20, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    Still trying to figure out Irelands obsession with ‘royalty’. The queen visits on the anniversary of the Dublin Monaghan Bombings, yet no mention made of it. 5 words of Irish and that atones for centuries of oppression? No apology, no expression of remorse. No cooperation from the British govt in sharing information on the perpetrators of the DM bombings. Maybe all the euro’s spent on her visit would be better spent on cleaner water in Roscommnon

  6. AndyB December 20, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Funnily enough, Mary met a (brand new and female) Bishop the other day…

  7. stranger on the bus December 20, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    Peoples’ love/fascination is not cognitive or rational. It’s an emotional response that I neither share nor understand, but it’s best to tread lightly. The attachment, for many is quite strong. Hating on dear old Lizabeth is like hating kittens, or maybe worse.


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