'The queen', aging femininity and the recuperation of the monarchy
Dolan, J. (2012) 'The queen', aging femininity and the recuperation of the monarchy. Ageing Studies in Europe, 2 (1). pp. 39-52.
Publisher's URL: http://www.lit-verlag.de/isbn/3-643-90176-7
Located in the ideologically saturated discourses of historical truth and the cinematic conventions of authenticity mobilised by the biopic genre, Stephen Frear’s 2006 film, The Queen, contributes to the hegemonic recuperation of the British monarchy from its republican nadir in the early 1990s. With both the Queen and Princess Diana variously manifesting the ordinary/ extraordinary paradox of royal celebrity, a series of oppositions between tradition/modernity, age/youth, is produced. This resonates with the dominant public memory of a vulnerable Princess Diana victimised by a powerful and domineering monarch. However, representations of the Queen as an ordinary and vulnerable, ageing woman, burdened with the joint responsibilities of family and state are held in counterpoint to constitutions of Princess Diana as a potentially calculating and exploitative celebrity divorcee. This move unsettles previous binary alignments and effectively, the Queen is established as the embodiment of a conservative modernity: as a necessary bulwark against the excesses of a self-serving celebrity culture that threatens to undermine the valuable traditions and protocols of British monarchical nationalism.
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