Anne Rowling, Queen Elizabeth, and Honors at Buckingham Palace
Rowling said in this 2018 interview with the cast of ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ on the ‘Today Show’ that her late mother Anne Volant Rowling, if she had lived to see it, would have been over the moon about her daughter receiving honors at Buckingham Palace. Nick Jeffery wrote a beautiful review of the times Rowling has brushed up against royalty through the years, ‘J. K. Rowling and the Queen;’ what I think the interview segment above highlights about those contacts is how much the Royal Family acts as a shared reference, the almost supernatural or extra-temporal pinnacle of the societal hierarchy, for everyone in the UK, to include those who despise the monarchy as a Medieval relic.
Though the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, which is to say, a nation in which the King or Queen holds ceremonial and symbolic power but not much gritty political punch day-to-day, the passing of Queen Elizabeth last week still requires a re-orientation for everyone in the country, for whom QEII was a fixed point in seventy years of great change, even at times something like chaos. Characters in the Rowling-Galbraith novels have several times asked Strike if he has worked for anyone in the Royal Family; see Aunt Joan’s funeral, for example, where the question causes him to be quite rude and, not much later in Troubled Blood, Polworth asks his old mate if he’s been talking with the Queen.
Both these questions, one serious, one in jest, were asked to say to Cormoran that his successes are such that his accomplishments merit the notice of the Sovereign, real compliments in other words, something for which we have no equivalent in the United States. Given the partisan nature of American politics, being invited to the White House is almost an affront to half the population, whoever is in residence and extending the invitation. Rowling was a frequent guest at 10 Downing Street during the Gordon Brown years; no mention of what her mum would have thought of that.
I doubt, now that Rowling has suggested that the Strike series will be ten books long and may end before Covid lockdowns in 2020, that we will hear what Cormoran and Robin think, assuming they live past the ten books, about the Queen’s death or her importance in their lives. (Unless of course the questions about the Agency’s working for “Royals” was foreshadowing….)
Which is a shame. I’d like to read those reflections from these two fictional voices, thoughts and feelings that everyone in the UK is now sharing, to include Rowling’s “a thread running through all our lives.”
Most British people have never known another monarch, so she’s been a thread winding through all our lives. She did her duty by the country right up until her dying hours, and became an enduring, positive symbol of Britain all over the world. She’s earned her rest. #TheQueen
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) September 8, 2022
Do you think Rowling might write a Strike and Ellacott Detective Agency case involving Royals or even true aristocrats? How else might she shoehorn in Strike’s thoughts about the Royal Family? Might QEII or Prince Phillip have awarded him his life-saving medal? Could Rokeby be knighted and his family get to meet Prince Charles or the Queen?
Let me know what you think is possible, likely, or desirable in terms of a cameo from the Royal Family in the Strike novels in the comment thread below.