Mourning the Ultimate British Icon
The …&repeat team were shell shocked to hear of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passing.
Our shock turned to sadness as we empathised with her family and the nations sorrow, followed by pride at the deeply moving and exquisitely choreographed funeral.
The Queen was our Head of State for 70 years. Additionally, she was our “Head of Nation,” the person who represented our national identity and the unity of our nation. As such she became inextricably entwined with our cultural identity. Partly this was due to the practical nature of her role as our national representative on countless royal tours and state duties. But we believe that ultimately it was her popularity which resulted in her becoming the definitive British Icon.
Her Majesty personified Great Britain and she was someone we could always be proud of. We feel this was why she has been an inspiration for the greatest artistic talents. Be that artists such as Andy Warhol, Chris Levine, Damien Hirst and Banksy or fashion designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Dolce and Gabanna.
She was the most portrayed person in history. Her profile was on our banknotes, stamps, and coins, as well as having sat for around 200 portraits in her lifetime.
The consistency of her sense of style (the hair, the handbag) is as instantly recognisable as a black taxi or red double decker bus. Yet she allowed herself to be painted and photographed by the best current artists of the day, giving largely free reign to Lucian Freud when he painted her in 2001.
In later years she was often portrayed as somewhat severe and unsmiling, yet her cameo film roles betrayed a quirky sense of humour. The world watched in astonishment as she boarded a helicopter with James Bond and parachuted into the Olympic stadium in a short film during the opening of the 2012 Olympics. She was 86 at the time. And just this year we saw another film of her enjoying marmalade sandwiches with Paddington Bear.
Whilst we hope that future British royals will continue to inspire the arts in the same way, and represent us as immaculately as Queen Elizabeth always did, we will miss her.