For an eye-watering 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II has managed to alchemise a sense of majesty, mystery and simple humanity. One might even argue that hers has been a divine blessing…  
A style icon: Queen Elizabeth II during her royal tour of Australia in 1954. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Tis call’d the evil:

A most miraculous work in this good king;
Which often, since my here-remain in England,
I have seen him do. How he solicits heaven,
Himself best knows: but strangely-visited people,
All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye,
The mere despair of surgery, he cures,
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks,
Put on with holy prayers: and ’tis spoken,
To the succeeding royalty he leaves
The healing benediction. With this strange virtue,
He hath a heavenly gift of prophecy,
And sundry blessings hang about his throne,
That speak him full of grace.

These words are spoken by Malcolm in Act IV of Macbeth. The ‘good king’ in question is Edward the Confessor, one of the last of England’s Anglo-Saxon monarchs.


September 2022


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