FOUR days ago, the king turned 96. It’s been a long and difficult reign. Well, not for him — mostly, for me.
The king and I have always had a complicated relationship. As a little girl, I looked up to him. He was my hero. Under attack, I would slay dragons to save him. One day, though, I glimpsed his feet of clay. It was a rude awakening.
In many ways, my father enabled my late adulting. He loved me extravagantly. So, because I was a late bloomer, it took me a long time to recover.
Looking back, I realize my father was most comfortable with this dynamic: he, the lavish king provider and me, the blind, loyal subject. But even pampered princesses grow up and learn to opine that the monarchy can lose relevance during modern times.
My father, however, was not open to such woke ideas. He wasn’t a great fan of consultation or collaboration.
He decreed he would reign as monarch till his last breath. There would be no abdication in his lifetime. And no transition to a democratic form of governance — at least, not while he sat on the throne. He made this crystal clear to all of us. And everyone in the kingdom accepted this without question. Except me.
Even the queen did not demur. Later, she would tell us that after 62 years of marriage, she had learned to accept the unrelenting ways of the crown. My long-suffering mother, my obedient brother and my feisty but war-weary sisters accepted my father’s edicts without question. But not me.
I was done with the monarchy. I wanted democracy. Looking back, I realize I was wrong. I was wrong to challenge the king and to demand change. Because I was free to leave that way of life. I wasn’t a prisoner. I was free to leave the kingdom.
And so, I did. But there is a greater force that works even above the crown. I did not know it then that one cannot really thwart God’s plans. I left the kingdom more than once but each time, the path led back to the palace.
Life under the crown, after finding freedom, almost broke me. I fought my father at every turn. Blinded by pride, pain and rage, I could not see the light. It wasn’t submission that my father wanted from me — it was respect.
I could say that I suffered for a very long time under the monarchy. But my father could say that he suffered just as long with my anarchy. Let’s just say we’re even.
At 96, my father still sits on the throne. And at 56, I cannot be more grateful. He continues to be a source of strength, wisdom, hope and inspiration for all of his subjects — including me. I submit to God’s infinite wisdom.
Today, I can truly say it’s been the greatest honor of my life to serve my father, the king. And it is with privilege and pleasure that I will continue to serve him till the very end. Long live the king!