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Saturday, October 1, 2022

My father witnessed the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

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For detailed biographical information, please check the very first article of this blog. Thanks!

The House of Windsor is a British dynasty originally called Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, after a duchy in Thuringia, in the heart of Germany, from where the husband of Queen Victoria (1819-1901), Prince Albert (1819-1861), originated.

George V (1865-1936) changed its name towards the end of World War I, as anti-German hate propaganda was running wild in Great Britain, depicting my ancestors as ruthless, bloodthirsty Huns.

One of her most outstanding members, Queen Elizabeth II, who had been born in the heart of the back then still mighty British Empire on April 21st 1926, died peacefully in a Scottish castle on September 8th, 2022, after more than 70 years on the throne.

After her father, George VI (1895-1952), had passed away from coronary thrombosis when she was only 25 years old, she was crowned on June 2nd, 1953 during a spectacular, fully televised ceremony.

Her uncle, Edward VIII (1894-1972), the original Crown Prince with strong pro-German tendencies, had abdicated in late 1936 to be able to marry his divorced American girlfriend, Wallis Simpson (1896-1986).

It was pure coincidence that my father happened to be in the United Kingdom at the time when Elizabeth II ascended the throne. The pomp he witnessed left him so impressed that he talked about it all of his life.

Born in 1920 near Berlin into a royalist family of farmers loyal to the last Kaiser, Wilhelm II (1859-1941), contracted the poliomyelitis during World War II at the age of 22 and was left permanently disabled.

To add insult to injury, after the war his parents’ farm became part of the Soviet occupation zone. No longer able to help out, he was forced to switch from physical to intellectual work, which also suited him well.

Luckily, his disablement had been recognized as a war injury and after the currency reform in the three Western occupation zones on June 20th, 1948, he started receiving a small pension from the provisional West German government.

As his French had been good enough to serve as an interpreter during the Western Campaign in 1940, he realized the importance of languages and decided to use this financial aid to learn English in the British capital.

According to him, at the time waiters would always say “Thank you” when serving a dish, especially in the East End in London where he lived and the fast-disappearing Cockney dialect was widely spoken.

In that area he met the Jewish owner of a shoe shop, who had fled from the National Socialists. While this fellow was having a very friendly chat with my father, he took the chance to complain about Blacks making his shoe wear dirty while trying it on…

My dad, who had lived through a period of time when signs attached to park benches in Germany said “No Jews” or “Only for Arians”, was very surprised to hear such words, but kept those thoughts for himself.

Interestingly enough, quite a few of those Africans my dad encountered, from what is nowadays Cameroon, Namibia, continental Tanzania and Togo, had fondle memories of German colonial times.

They stated that the Germans had built infrastructure and educated them, while the British and French, among which the German colonies on the Black Continent were divided after 1918, had just exploited them…

Those politically incorrect views are unthinkable in the 21st century, just as the passing of the longest ruling female monarch in history also marks the end of an era in which common sense was much more present.

The bright, colorful, but always tasteful suits of Queen Elizabeth II will be missed! Her work ethic and willingness to sacrifice her own interests for those of a larger cause reflect those immortal Prussian values my dad was taught, and which he passed on to me. Rest in peace, Your Majesty!

P.D.: In 1954 my father went to Madrid to learn Spanish. That’s why my whole family ended up in Spain in 1968.

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