AS MOST OF YOU KNOW, THE QUEEN IS STILL ALIVE AND REIGNING OVER US COMMONWEALTH SUBJECTS.
And as we in the UK, Canada and other Commonwealth countries say or sing: Long Live the Queen or God Save the Queen.
(Although those hats HAVE TO GO! OK, we don't sing that, but that's just me).
In fact, her Royal Highnessnessness just this week became the oldest-ever living British monarch, at 81 years and 244 days (and counting).
That surpasses the previous UK record of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, the incredibly exquisite woman below.
While she's the oldest-ever living British monarch, Elizabeth is not the longest-serving at Buckingham Palace.
She will be if she can make it, with crown still on head and standing upright, until Sept. 9, 2015 -- she'd be 89, we'd assume -- at which time she would take that title too, from Victoria.
And according to one source, she had 425 Queen-related engagements in 2007 alone, so she's still going strong and shows few signs of slowing down.
When I was a kid growing up, we always sang God Save the Queen. Our gracious Queen. She became queen three years before I was born, so she's always been a part of my life.
There are plenty of feelings here in Canada and, I'm sure, in other current or one-time Commonwealth nations -- like Australia, New Zealand, the Phillippines, India, etc. -- that it's time for the monarchy to be abandoned, at least by us.
But there are also monarchists here and in many other countries who love what the Queen and what our ties to the UK and mean...
...In terms of our history and all, our heritage, the nation we've become. And, like much of the rest of the world, many people here still love her and the rest of the Royal Family.
I'm not sure I hold a strong opinion either way.
I think I probably lean more to seeing her and the British royalty as nothing but figureheads, but there still is some affinity we have with the UK that's unlike any other we have with other countries.
In any event, without any intent to offend, I wanted to say there's another British Queen to rival the real one, at least in my world.
Twelve years after the last episode was filmed in Coventry, I can still see her on public TV, every day, here in Canada. She's much funnier and more outrageous. But she still wears stupid hats.
And this is her.
She's Hyacinth Bucket (she pronounces it Bouquet, starring Patricia Routledge). She was the star of a brilliantly funny UK sitcom called Keeping Up Appearances, which aired on BBC1 from 1990-95.
In 2004, the show was named the 12th best British sitcom ever. It's about a social-climbing snob and her poor husband and their lives together as she tries to climb the social ladder pretending to be what she's not.
And the impression I always had, with the hats she wore and all, was that she thought she was the Queen of England. Or at least trying to be.
At the very least, the show seemed to be a parody of that Uppah British uppah class mentality that's so often portrayed in film and on screen (although to be honest, I never, for a moment, have ever witnessed it in real life).
Anyway...I mean, don't they look at least SOMEWHAT the same?
Even their families seem to have similarities, if you look at it in a humourous, Monty Pythonesque sort of light...
HRH and Prince Philip
Mrs. Bucket and her long-suffering hubby, Rich-awd
Prince Philip in full regalia
Rich-awd in full regalia...and anguish
Prince Chawls, the louse and heir-apparent (oldest ever too, I believe)
Onslow, Hyacinth's beer-swilling slob of a brother-in-law
Prince Chawls and Camilla Pahkuh-Balls
Onslow and his sex-starved wife, Daisy
The Royuhl Family and some big fat guy
The Keeping Up Appearances Family
So while I respect the real Queen, so regal and royal, I just howl in laughter at the other queen, so funny and loyal.
And I trust that Britons, who have the best sense of humour in the world, will giggle too...
...Before they tie me to a stake, lance out my liver and kidneys as they swig back some ale, set me afire while I slowly bleed to death and tell jokes as I take my final breath, gasping "God Save the Queen."