During a life devoted to public service and being on almost permanent display, Lilibet was the one thing the Queen had that was entirely her own.
It was hers, and hers alone.
Spoken aloud, it was the affectionate nickname first bestowed upon her by her grandfather, King George V, adopted by her beloved father and mother, and an echo of the past that she must still hear, whispered down the hallways and by the firesides of Balmoral and Sandringham.
It was also a private endearment uttered throughout more than 70 years of marriage by her husband who, may I remind certain parties, is recently deceased.
Elizabeth may Regina, but Lilibet was something more sublime.
No, it does not appear on patents or seals or official documents, but it was her signature on the most personal of correspondences. It was the cipher that spoke of the bonds of family and also of the flesh and blood woman behind the throne, under the crown, beyond the castle moat.
Its use was restricted. It was a tender diminutive spoken only by those who knew and loved her.
Lilibet was as much a part of the Queen’s personal identity as her Sunday hats and buckled shoes, her tweeds in the country and her cornflakes in Tupperware.
And now it is no longer hers, its emotional exclusivity shattered; targeted and then blown apart like a clay pigeon. If we all instinctively understand its importance to HM, if even Noel Gallagher gets it — someone who is hardly a poster boy for the delicacies of family unity himself — why can’t Meghan and Harry understand the enormity of what they have done?
During a life devoted to public service and being on almost permanent display, Lilibet was the one thing the Queen (pictured right) had that was entirely her own
Thanks to their perhaps well-meaning but thoughtless cradle- snatch of the Queen’s childhood nickname, Lilibet has been devalued faster than a cryptocurrency.
Once only used in intimate royal circles, now it is in the mouths of American TV hosts and radio shock jocks. It is on BBC bulletins and in newspaper headlines. It is the subject of furious legal letters and at the heart of an unedifying briefing war involving gloat and counter-gloat.
Lilibet is now spoken of as a truculence, an affront, a protocol ram-raid, a misstep.
The jury is still out on whether using the name for the new baby Sussex is a deliberate act of marketing strategy and self-interest or an innocent tribute from a loving grandson that has gone awry. No matter whose side you are on it is clear that whatever it was, it no longer is — its private significance lost forever to the braying world.
When it comes to Lilibet, all bets are off.
You have to wonder what the Queen must think of the loss of this term of endearment, on the eve of her official birthday and in the week that Prince Philip would have celebrated his 100th.
She turned 95 in April, four days after burying her husband at Windsor Castle. Newly widowed and grieving, she could be forgiven for hoping for an extended period of peace and tranquillity in these late years of her life. God knows she has earned it.
What is puzzling is that if the Sussexes (centre and right) wanted to name their baby in honour of the Queen — and what a lovely thing to do — there are many non-contentious Elizabethan options
Yet through no fault of her own she is pitched from one Sussex-mangled calamity to the next.
Poor Lilibet! She has conducted herself with impeccable discretion and good sense during a faultless 69-year-reign, but once more she is dragged into the bear pit by Harry and Meghan who somehow always do so much harm, under the guise of trying to do so much good.
Baby Lilibet? It is the biggest case of name-napping since a friend introduced her daughter Apple to Mr and Mrs Gwyneth Paltrow, who then harvested the fruity moniker for their own child.
What is puzzling is that if the Sussexes wanted to name their baby in honour of the Queen — and what a lovely thing to do — there are many non-contentious Elizabethan options.
Heavens to Betsy! I lost count at 20, including Thea, Tess and Isabella, not to mention the lovely Scottish Elspeth and Ailsa, the French Elise plus a solid Beth, Liza with a Z, Busy Lizzie and Betty Boop to boot.
But no, nothing would do but the one name that would do untold damage, the one name that should have been off-limits, the one name that anyone with a drop of sense would realise was personal, untouchable, just let it go.
It was the affectionate nickname first bestowed upon her by her grandfather, King George V (left), adopted by her beloved father and mother, and an echo of the past that she must still hear
Like jewel thieves stealthily reaching in to unshackle the Cullinan Diamond from the grip of the State Crown, the Sussexes only wanted the best for themselves, the choice royal plum in the Windsor pudding.
Despite their recent protestations about how much they hate the monarchy and all it represents, about how Harry felt trapped in his role as a prince and of his suffering because of the inadequate parenting practised by the Queen and bled down through the generations, here he still is, clutching at royal straws, determined to cling on to the ties that bind.
Seasoned royal watchers know the use of Lilibet grants a dramatic royal presence in this child’s life. It also suggests the couple may want to associate themselves with the Queen and all she represents.
HM’s duties are almost over, while theirs as a royal unit in exile are just beginning; an existence thronged with prospects and throbbing with opportunity.
Even now, the Sussexes still don’t seem to grasp the essential divergence between celebrity and monarchy and that different rules apply, but they will take whatever they can get.
The plunder of the name Lilibet was their solution to a complex problem of status and prestige, but the audacity might rebound on them yet.
What has been overlooked is the marvellous timing. Simply superb. Gotta hand it to them. The Sussexes announce the birth of their baby, manage to call her something that will cause a media sensation globally — and do it all in the very week Meghan’s children’s book, The Bench, is published. No wonder I’ve come over all poetic again . . .
Some say our treatment of the Queen
Is cruel and inhumane
But see how we honour and adore her
At the heart of our ad campaign
Could I punch a croc in the face?
Georgia Laurie (right) was overwhelmed by gut instinct when a crocodile grabbed her twin sister Melissa (left) and was informed by something she once read somewhere – that one way to survive a crocodile attack was to punch it in the face
When a crocodile grabbed her twin sister Melissa, Georgia Laurie was overwhelmed by gut instinct and informed by something she once read somewhere — that one way to survive a crocodile attack was to punch it in the face.
‘She’d heard that with some animals, that’s what you’ve got to do,’ their older sister Hana told Radio 1 Newsbeat.
I like to think that if my sister were being attacked by a crocodile, I would do the same. However my fear is fear itself — that I would be so traumatised by events that terrified immobility would result.
Our father, a policeman, always taught us: don’t put yourself in danger unless you absolutely have to, but don’t just stand there and gawp either. If you can do something to help, do it.
But would I? Could I?
Apparently we all have a ‘disaster personality’ — a unique way of reacting in a sudden crisis. Some behave heroically, but many simply freeze in horror. So bless Georgia Laurie (right) for her clear thinking and doing the right thing at a moment of extreme peril. She undoubtedly saved her sister’s life. My thoughts and prayers are with the 28-year-old twins. Here’s hoping that Melissa, currently in a Mexican hospital, makes a full recovery.
A footballer’s ‘duty’ is to score goals
Gareth Southgate has written a letter to —well, to whom? And why?
On the eve of the Euros, his ‘Dear England’ missive tackles the issue of players ‘taking the knee’ amongst other things.
The England manager believes that footballers today have a ‘duty to interact with the public on matters such as equality, inclusivity and racial injustice, while using the power of their voices to help put debates on the table, raise awareness and educate’.
But do they really? Most of the public and those in the ‘wider community’ are heartily sick of being lectured to by celebrity millionaires, sporting or otherwise, from the comfort of their mansions on the moral high ground.
I don’t think footballers have a duty to raise awareness.
I think they have a duty to raise the goal scoring average of the national side and win games.
Southgate is a decent man, but fans want heart and commitment from players, not the impertinence of yet more consciousness raising from those who think they know best.
God save us all from posh, rich students
Can it really be 44 years since the Sex Pistols released God Save The Queen? It came out during celebrations for HM’s Silver Jubilee, and seemed shocking at the time.
God Save The Queen, the lyrics proclaimed, the fascist regime… she ain’t no human being, tum te tum.
It was promptly banned by a horrified BBC — but how times have changed!
Today the Beeb would probably play it on heavy rotation, with Emily Maitlis praising its sentiments and social acuity in one of her little Newsnight ‘lectures’.
Back then the Pistols predicted that the monarchy had ‘no future’. Well, the Windsors have certainly outlived the band.
Can it really be 44 years since the Sex Pistols released God Save The Queen? It came out during celebrations for HM’s Silver Jubilee, and seemed shocking at the time
My point is that the Queen survived everything the gobby Sex Pistols could throw at her, which is why she will survive the decision by members to remove her portrait from the Magdalen College Middle Common Room.
The Middle Common Room! Oh no, anything but the Middle Common Room said no royals, ever.
Led by Matthew Katzman, the son of a millionaire American lawyer, the Common Room communards voted to consign her portrait to the bin as a symbol of ‘recent colonial history’. One has to laugh, not only at their tenuous grasp of history, but also their own elitism — unacknowledged and unmentioned, merely taken for granted as members of an Oxbridge college sitting on an endowment fund of about £300 million.
They only put the blimmin’ portrait up in 2013, now the dopes want to take it down again. Well, fair enough. I will defend to the death the right of posh, rich students to behave like posh, rich students before they go off to become posh, rich bankers — or politicians! —and harvest a nice bit of colonial history of their own.
What does the Queen care? Not a jot.
Oh Emily, can I give you the tiniest little heads-up?
Are we tip-toeing into the Emily Ratajkowski mum-skills debate? I’m afraid so.
Hush, yes, no one likes to criticise young mothers, who always seem to be doing their best. Yet even I can see that the supermodel is not holding her baby correctly in images recently posted on her Instagram account.
And not just improperly, in a way that could be injurious to poor little Sylvester Apollo Bear’s health.
It’s a kiddy, Emily, it’s not a sack of spuds.
No one likes to criticise young mothers, who always seem to be doing their best. Yet even I can see that the supermodel is not holding her baby correctly in images recently posted on her Instagram account
She also posed with what seemed to be a glass of wine, alongside images of her breastfeeding.
Yet anyone who has pointed this out has been accused of mum-shaming — and worse. Attacking her. Spreading hate!
Yet surely anyone who has 27 million Instagram followers, many of them impressionable young women, has a duty to show herself behaving responsibly around a tiny baby?
I would hate anyone to look at those photographs and think there is nothing amiss about the way Sylvester’s head is lolling about, unsupported.
Emily clearly thought there was nothing wrong, that is why she posted the image.
Yes, it is nice having matching mom and baby swimsuits. But it is more important to set a good example and hold your child correctly.