4 I did not actually know Queen Elizabeth II — Queen by the Grace of God, Queen of this Realm and of her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith — whose subjects comprise almost one third of the people on earth, but I thought I should.

Growing up in the Haymount section of Fayetteville, I saw her children as potential chums who might want to come over to play and she, as a mother, very much like my own.

My delusion sprung from my father’s military service in World War II as a medical worker during the D-Day invasions, after which he boarded for a time in the home of an English widow, a Mrs. Fox. Surely, she had a given name, but I never heard it.

My father, a courtly and personable Southerner, struck up a friendship with Mrs. Fox, which endured by mail until she died. The two young families, the Queen’s and my own, were in the same stage of life, and Mrs. Fox sent us many photographic books about the British Royal Family.

They were PR efforts to portray the Royal Family as almost regular folks, much as the Kennedys did with their family. I pored over pages of charming photographs of the Windsor family and little text.

The Windsor children were in England doing the same things we were doing in Haymount, swinging, playing with our dogs, and getting into occasional mischief. They were, I must admit, considerably better dressed and a lot cleaner than we were.

I loved those books so much that I nagged my father to write Mrs. Fox to invite the Windsor children to visit us in Fayetteville. I think my desire was prompted by the acquisition of a new backyard wading pool.

Needless to say, the Windsor children never showed.

Queen Elizabeth’s death has generated worldwide respect for her and the institution she embodied, for her perseverance and wry sense of humor, and for the family trials and tribulations she endured with the unbelievable antics and worse of her now thoroughly grown children and their wacky spouses.

We all live through some of that. The difference is that the Windsors played out their troubles and their joys on the world stage. The rest of us can keep at least our troubles close to the vest.

Queen Elizabeth II presided over the final days of the once global British Empire, knew every U.S. President since Harry Truman except Lyndon Johnson who did once throw a White House party for the Queen’s glamorous younger sister.

She met weekly with Prime Ministers from Winston Churchill to the brand new Liz Truss.

Family She rarely showed emotion in public, and famously so, because she was loath to indicate an opinion on any matter.

In her private life, she was said to be warm and engaging, with a quick wit, a woman who loved her dogs and horses, who enjoyed her toddies, including a glass of champagne before bed every night, and whose grandchildren called her “Granny.”

Queen Elizabeth did all this and more with dignity and a constant and unwavering hairdo that could have been styled in a downtown Fayetteville beauty parlor in 1965.

Most people on earth have not lived a day without the reassuring knowledge that the Queen was somewhere in the world calmly carrying on, pocketbook firmly in hand.

She had no real legal or political power, but her presence was felt by her billions of subjects and the rest of us.

Hers was a life well lived and a job well done.

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