Royal Pearls

Would YOU like to be Queen or King for a day? Do you remember there was a radio (1945-1957) and TV (1956-1964) game show, Queen for a Day? Dramatic stories of women spilling their guts about financial hardship and stressed-out lives riveted audiences. With an applause meter, a TV “winner” was selected by audiences. Pomp and Circumstance accompanied the often-crying “queen” to her velvet throne where she donned a red velvet robe and bejeweled crown. She was gifted with whatever she had asked for, along with extra perks from sponsoring businesses. The “losers” received token prizes. Ending each TV production, Jack Bailey crooned, “…wishing we could make every woman a queen, for every single day!”

I wonder if Queen Elizabeth II relished being a queen every single day. She was a queen for 70 x 365 days or 25,550 days + an additional 214 days. She was royalty for the monarchy of the United Kingdom, which turns out to be not so united. Her royal position was much tougher than it looked. We only had glimpses of her smiling gracefully at special events with her many pastel hats and matching ensembles. Queen Elizabeth was a pearl girl. Many of her pictures show her wearing pearls. Even her crown has pearls.   

Queen Elizabeth seemed to relish days without pomp and circumstance 24-7. Escaping to her mother’s homeland of Scotland for summer vacation may have helped her cope with less-than-united relationships within her own family—marriages set asunder and various other snafus. Like many mothers and grandmothers, the Queen was a matriarch surrounded by trauma and troubles. 

We honor her steadfastness, her enduring positive attitude (at least as far as we could tell) and how she loved driving her own car in Scotland as a regular kind of gal. We don’t know if pearls accompanied her on Range Rover get-aways, but she deserved privacy out of London’s limelight. Perhaps Balmoral Castle felt homier than Buckingham Palace.

We might think of Queen Elizabeth as a heroine. She was not first in line for the monarchy job, but her uncle, King Edward VIII, threw away pomp with plenty of circumstance. His abdication of duty was tied to marrying an American divorced woman, allowing the royal crown to tumble into the hands of his younger brother, Elizabeth Alexandra’s father, King George VI. Then, as oldest child, Elizabeth was crowned with a daunting yoke of duty for 7 independent Commonwealth countries at the tender age of 25.

Joseph Campbell popularized the archetypal Hero journey. His student, family therapist Maureen Murdock, moved beyond Campbell to define the heroine journey and incorporate an inclusive “we”  voice. Murdock asked what happens when women have followed male success rules. Did Queen Elizabeth have regrets? What other career path might she have chosen? I feel incredibly fortunate to have chosen my psychology career with fewer obligatory demands.

Pearls of Peace (PoP) Quiz:

117. Did you follow your bliss in your work?

118. If you could choose again, what might you choose?   

By Janis Johnston

Janis Clark Johnston, Ed.D., has a doctorate in counseling psychology from Boston University. She has worked with children, families, and groups (ages 3-83) with presenting issues of anxiety, depression, trauma, loss, and relationship concerns. She initially worked as a school psychologist in public schools and was awarded School Psychology Practitioner of the Year for Region 1 in Illinois for her innovative work. She was a supervising psychologist at a mental health center, an employee-assistance therapist and a trainer for agencies prior to having a family therapy private practice. Recipient of the 2011 Founder’s Award for her dedication to the parenting education of Parenthesis Family Center (now called New Moms), and the 2002 Community Spirit Award from Sarah’s Inn, a domestic violence shelter and education center, Johnston is an active participant in numerous volunteer activities supporting children and families in her community. A frequent presenter at national psychology and educational conferences, Johnston has published journal articles, book chapters, and two books -- It Takes a Child to Raise a Parent: Stories of Evolving Child and Parent Development (2013, hardback; 2019, paperback) and Midlife Maze: A Map to Recovery and Rediscovery after Loss (2017, hardback; 2019, paperback). In addition to augmenting and supporting personal growth in families, Johnston is a Master Gardener and loves nurturing growth in the plants in her yard.

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