Elizabeth and the Germans – from enemy to friend |
The Queen got THIS Christmas tradition from us
As a young princess, the Queen († 96) experienced the Germans as an aggressor.
World fire, bombs on London and terrible war crimes. At 19, Elizabeth II became a soldier and trained as a car mechanic. Despite these experiences, as a young monarch, she campaigned for reconciliation after her coronation in 1953.
The moment of jubilation: In May 1965, the Queen visited West Germany for eleven days. The people were over the moon, greeting her frenetically with shouts of “E-li-za-beth, E-li-za-beth”.
Why? The Germans, wrote Carlo Schmid († 83), intellectual figurehead of the SPD, in the “Guardian” at the time, felt the visit “as the end of their status as a politically outlawed nation”.
After the injuries sustained in the war, the eleven-day tour went down in history as a milestone in international understanding. The British media had previously asked whether a trip “to the land of the former enemy” only 20 years after the war was appropriate.
The Queen was impressed by the peaceful reunion and its impact. “The Iron Curtain melted in the heat of the people’s will to be free,” she said in 1992 on her third state visit to Germany.
Elizabeth II was often perceived as cool. With the Windsors’ German roots, she always seemed to be in a semi-native milieu in Germany.
► Prince Albert († 42), the husband of Queen Victoria († 81), came from the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and with her grandmother, Mary von Teck († 85), the wife of King George V († 70 ), Swabian blood came into her veins.
► Husband Prince Philip († 99) also had German roots and spoke German.
► Unlike the British, who give each other gifts on Christmas morning, the Queen celebrated Christmas Eve with her family according to German custom as the most intimate moment of the festival.
Helmut Schmidt († 96) caused a small loss of sympathy – at a dinner in Buckingham Palace during the NATO conference in London in May 1977. The then Chancellor put out his cigarettes on the royal porcelain.
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