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what happened with the princess diana accident


									lire articles anglais franglais


                                  Photo by J Swanell

It’s not easy being queen, but Elizabeth managed to
bring the monarchy into the 21st century.
This is her story.


     Part I

     IN 1936, King Edward VIII shocked Britain and the empire: “I have found it impossible to carry the
     heavy burden of responsibility, and to discharge my duties as king … without the help and support of
     the woman I love.” Edward was giving up the throne to marry the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson,
     considered a fortune hunter, Nazi sympathiser, and “tart” by the establishment.
5    The shock fell especially heavily on an 10-year-old girl nicknamed “Lilibeth” by her family. In many
     ways she was like any other little girl: she loved horses and parties with her friends, going to the
     countryside, and was excited when she lost a tooth. But Elizabeth- her real name- was a princess,
     destined to be queen. Her uncle was the abdicating king, Edward, who escaped into a life of jet set
     parties and travels with his new wife. Her father was the new King George VI, who was shy and
10   retiring, and not physically strong. He would be thrust into the role of king during the hardest, darkest
     years of the coming war.
     Beside George stood his devoted wife, Elizabeth (later the queen mother) and the young but mature
     Elizabeth. She was already preparing to help her father and, one day, assume her place as queen. She
     studied French and learned to speak it well. She took courses in constitutional law and the law of the
15   church. As queen, she would be the official head of the Church of England. As a teenager, Elizabeth
     began to play her part in the “family business”, serving as the patron of charities and making public
     When the bombs started falling daily on London, and with the Germans preparing to invade England,
     it was suggested that Elizabeth and her younger sister Margaret be evacuated to Canada. Elizabeth’s
20   mother was adamant : “The children won't go without me, and I won't leave the King”. The young
     Elizabeth was as determined as her mother to contribute to the war effort. Although George was
     against the idea, Elizabeth served as an army lorry driver. By the end of the war, Elizabeth, not yet 20,
     was a prominent and active member of the royal family. In 1947, Elizabeth made her first official
     overseas visit to South Africa. But things were about to change for Elizabeth. Romance had touched
25   her life.

     Check your comprehension

       1/ Elizabeth probably disapproved of her uncle’s behaviour.            T      F

       2/ Elizabeth had the same personality as her father.                   T      F

       3/ Elizabeth’s mother wanted to go to Canada.                           T       F

     Answers page 7 / language in bold explained on page 8

     Part II

       When Elizabeth met Phillip
       ELIZABETH was only 13 when she met Phillip, a handsome 18-
       year-old Navy cadet. He was athletic, charming, and courageous, as
       his war record would later prove, and rose quickly to become one of
       the youngest first lieutenants in the Royal Navy. Elizabeth and
5      Phillip exchanged letters throughout the grim war years and, when
       peace dawned, Elizabeth decided she would marry him.
       Elizabeth’s mother thought that Elizabeth just wanted to marry the
       first attractive man she had met, and she did not like the man.
       Phillip was in fact a member of the Greek royal family who, as a
10     baby, had escaped with his family from the revolution in his home country. His religion was Greek
       Orthodox. Worst of all, his relatives were mostly German. But if Phillip was German, he was no more
       German than Elizabeth herself. The British Royal Family had been named Saxe-Coburg Gotha until
       World War I forced them to adopt the more British-sounding Windsor.
       Princess Elizabeth prevailed, and married Phillip in 1947 in Westminster Abbey. A year later, Charles-
15     the future king- was born, and two years Elizabeth had a daughter, Anne. Elizabeth, Phillip, and their
       two bright children were rays of light in a bleak post-war Britain of bombed out cities and rationing.
       The couple were warmly welcomed wherever they went.
       Phillip the husband has apparently not always been easy to get on with. Whereas Elizabeth is very
       diplomatic and tactful, Phillip can be gruff, and has a talent for saying the wrong things in public.
20     However, it seems Elizabeth has never regretted her choice of a husband who gave up his promising
       navy career to play second fiddle to his famous wife. Elizabeth once said of Phillip: “He is someone
       who doesn't take easily to compliments, but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these

       Check your comprehension

         1/ The romance between Elizabeth and Phillip developed quickly.       T      F

         2/ Elizabeth’s mother did not like Phillip because he was a foreigner. T     F

         3/ Phillip is not very helpful to Elizabeth.                          T     F

       Answers page 7 / language in bold explained on page 8

     Part III

       A working queen
       KING George VI died in 1952 and the next year, in a glittering
       ceremony at Westminster Abbey, the Princess was crowned “Queen
       Elizabeth the Second of the United Kingdom”, and also of Australia,
       Canada, and New Zealand, and colonies in Africa, Asia, the Pacific,
5      and the Caribbean.
       The Queen has never dodged the heavy responsibilities of her office.
       In Britain, no law can be valid until it is signed by the Queen.
       Although the Queen cannot defy a democratic government, or
       comment on politics, she is a highly-respected figure, the theoretical
10     commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and an obstacle to any prime minister who would be
       dictator. She has met weekly with prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher to
       Gordon Brown, and stays well-informed about politics. The Queen is also the head of hundreds of
       charities and organisations, and has attended thousands of public ceremonies. She launches ships,
       opens public buildings, watches royal theatre performances, and has sat for 120 portraits.
15     The Queen’s reign has coincided with the end of the British Empire and the birth of the
       Commonwealth, an association of former colonies turned independent states that she heads. So she has
       travelled widely, to Australia 14 times, to Canada 20 times, to New Zealand 10 times, and to China,
       India, Nepal, the United States, France, Germany, and Fiji. Every tour includes a packed program of
       official meetings, dinners, receptions, and ceremonies. The Queen has received some strange gifts, for
20     example an elephant given by the president of Cameroon.
       The Queen must always be patient, polite, impeccably presented, and cool under pressure. In 1981, the
       Queen was leading the Trooping of the Colour ceremony in London when six gunshots rang out and
       panic gripped the crowd. The Queen did not flinch. A prime minister once said that Elizabeth had “the
       heart and stomach of a man”.

       Check your comprehension

         1/ Elizabeth has no real power.                                        T      F

         2/ Elizabeth is head of state of Nepal.                                T      F

         3/ Someone tried to assassinate Elizabeth.                             T      F

       Answers page 7 / language in bold explained on page 8

     Part IV

     The Di fiasco
     ELIZABETH built a new style of monarchy. She wanted her children to live a more-or-less normal
     life, and was the first monarch to send her children to school with other children. She lowered the wall
     of reserve so the people could see their royal family. In 1968, the BBC made a film showing the daily
     life of the royals. Back then, the media was respectful, but the family would sometimes seem a little
5    than less normal, and the media less than respectful.
                                                Princess Anne and Prince Andrew divorced, and Prince
                                                Edward was not tough enough for the Royal Marines. But
                                                the real problem was Charles.
                                                As future king, Charles’ private life was a matter of national
10                                              importance. One of his children would become monarch.
                                                Charles was romantically linked to a number of glamorous
                                                young women but still there was no wife and no heir. In
                                                1980, Charles was in mourning for his uncle, Louis
     Mountbatten, assassinated by the IRA, when a young Diana Spencer appeared with words of
15   sympathy. A year later the couple were married in a fairytale wedding broadcast around the world.
     They had two sons, William and Harry, and the media was enchanted by the modern, pretty princess.
     So when the marriage began to fall apart, the tabloids lapped it all up. Charles and Diana found
     comfort with old and new lovers, and used the media to make war on each other. Diana told the
     media: “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded”. Charles’s friends hinted that
20   Diana was crazy.
     The couple divorced in 1996, and a year later Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris. There was an
     unprecedented outpouring of public emotion, and anger. Elizabeth misjudged the public mood, and
     was accused of being too reserved, too cold. At Diana’s funeral, her brother Charles Spencer publicly
     attacked the royal family. The Queen went on radio to say of Diana: “I admired her and respected
25   her.” It was the low point of Elizabeth’s reign.

     Check your comprehension

       1/ Elizabeth adopted a policy of total transparency.                     T     F

       2/ Diana said Charles had a mistress.                                    T     F

       3/ The Queen admired and respected Diana.                                T     F

     Answers page 7 / language in bold explained on page 8

     Part V

     Elizabeth now
                                            TODAY, at 81-years of age, Elizabeth spends a little more time
                                            at her Sandringham country estate. One of her passions is horses,
                                            and she ranks among Britain’s top breeders. Elizabeth adores
                                            watching her own horses run at Royal Ascot, Britain’s most
5                                           famous horse racing event. Elizabeth also breeds dogs and has
                                            created a new type, the dorgi, a corgi crossed with a dachshund.
                                            Elizabeth still maintains a solid work schedule. There are still
     hospitals to open, knighthoods to grant, state visits to Uganda, and problems at home. Palaces and
     castles are not cheap to run and her annual government grant has been decreasing. It now stands at £37
10   million, and some begrudge such a sum going to someone with a personal fortune of £280 million.
     The ghost of Diana continues to haunt the royal family, more than 10 years after her death. The media
     gave a lot of coverage to the recent official British inquiry into the fatal car crash. When an important
     witness told the inquiry that he DIDN’T think Diana was murdered, it made the front pages. However,
     time is on the side of the royal family. Charles is now married to the “other woman”, and slowly but
15   surely, Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles are being accepted by the British people. The palace is
     quietly preparing for the day when Charles will be king. There have even been rehearsals for
     Elizabeth’s own funeral, which will be an important state event. Such preparations cannot be very
     pleasant for Elizabeth. Her sister Margaret died in 2002, and her mother a couple of months later.
     Elizabeth and Phillip are the last of their generation.
20   However, Elizabeth can look back on her 55-year reign knowing that she has accomplished her
     mission. Despite the ups and downs of the last half century, the British monarchy is stronger than ever.
     In 2008, more people in Britain believe in extraterrestrials than believe in a British republic. The
     biggest republican group in Britain recently organised a petition calling for a debate on abolishing the
     monarchy. In a nation of more than 60,000,000 people, 3000 people signed the petition.

     Check your comprehension

       1/ Elizabeth does not work as hard as in the past.                     T      F

       2/ Many people believe that Diana was murdered.                        T      F

       3/ The republican movement threatens the monarchy.                     T      F

     Answers page 7 / language in bold explained on page 8


Part I
1/ Elizabeth probably disapproved of her uncle’s behaviour. T (This is not stated, but certainly
   implied in the article. The uncle, the abdicating Edward, escaped into a life of jet set parties and
   travels with his new wife –8-9 . Elizabeth is presented as a more serious member of the royal family.
2/ Elizabeth had the same personality as her father. F (9-10: Her father is described as shy and
   retiring – and being thrust – pushed somewhat reluctantly- into being king, whereas Elizabeth is
    evidently not timid and not reluctant about assuming her responsibilities.
3/ Elizabeth’s mother wanted to go to Canada. F (19-20: She is insistent – adamant- that she will not
   leave the King, and is supportive of the King’s decision to not leave England).

Part II
1/ The romance between Elizabeth and Phillip developed quickly. F (1-6: The romance developed
  slowly, during the war years).
2/ Elizabeth’s mother did not like Phillip because he was a foreigner. T (Lines 8-11 explain the
   views of Elizabeth’s mother).
3/ Phillip is not very helpful to Elizabeth. F (20-23: We learn that Phillip surrendered his own
   ambitions to play second fiddle, a supporting role, to his wife, who describes him as a strength and

Part III
1/ Elizabeth has no real power. F (7-11: The article explains that the Queen serves as a guarantee of
   the democratic system, who could act in extreme circumstances to prevent absolute power passing
    to a politician).
2/ Elizabeth is head of state of Nepal. F (16-18: The article says that Elizabeth is head of the
    Commonwealth and has travelled to Nepal. It does not say Nepal is a member of the
   Commonwealth, or that Elizabeth is Queen of Nepal. In fact, Nepal is not a member and this
    nation has its own king).
3/ Someone tried to assassinate Elizabeth. F (21-23: The article says shots were fired somewhere
    near the Queen, but does not say they were fired at the Queen. Although this incident was
    frightening when it happened, it was later discovered that the “assassin” was a man with mental
    problems and his gun was loaded with blank bullets).

Part IV
1/ Elizabeth adopted a policy of total transparency. F (2-3: Elizabeth lowered the wall, but did not
   completely dismantle it).
2/ Diana said Charles had a mistress. T (18-20: When Diana said there were three of us in the
   marriage, she was referring to Charles’ mistress).
3/ The Queen admired and respected Diana. F (21-25: The article does not say that. It gives the
   strong impression that Elizabeth’s comments were meant to pacify public hostility towards the royal
   family arising from the death of Diana. One could imagine that- given what happened between
    Diana and Charles- Elizabeth probably did not like Diana very much).

Part V
1/ Elizabeth does not work as hard as in the past. T (1-2: If she spends a little more time on her estate,
   that implies less time on public duties.
2/ Many people believe that Diana was murdered. T (12-13: If a claim that Diana was not
   murdered were considered important by the press, it indicates that many people believe she was or
    might have been murdered).
3/ The republican movement threatens the monarchy. F (21-24: The text indicates that the
    republicans have almost no popular support, 3000 out of 60 million people).

Words and expressions from the text

Part I
Tart (noun) is most commonly a type of cake (torte) , but here it is a familiar word to describe a
woman of easy virtue, who is sexually immoral. It is not a pleasant word, but not as strong as certain
others, for example slut. English is rich in words for sexually immoral women, but poor in words to
describe sexually immoral men.

Part II
Handsome (adjective) is physically attractive, good looking, usually for a man.
Grim, bleak (adjectives) mean cold, difficult, unwelcoming, without comfort etc.
Dawn (noun and verb) is the rising of the sun, but it can also be used to describe the beginning of a
new era or époque, particularly after a difficult period.
Gruff (adjective) brusque, tactless etc.
To play second fiddle (expression) a fiddle is a musical instrument like a violin, and this common
expression means to play a secondary or supporting role, usually without recognition for that role.

Part III
Glittering (adjective) means bright and shiny, and can describe gold or diamonds, or an event like the
Oscars, for example, with many stars and famous people.
Flinch (verb) means to move suddenly in response to fear or some threat.

Part IV
Tough (adjective) for a person, physically or mentally strong and resistant.
In mourning (expression) en deuil.
Fairytale (noun/ adjective) compte de fée.
To lap something up (verb) means to consume something with pleasure. A cat laps milk or cream, and
enjoys it, and the idea can be transposed to other situations. It is a fairly familiar expression.
Crowded/ crowd (adjective/ noun) refer to many people or perhaps too many people. We talk about a
crowded bus, or big crowds at a football match. When referring to human relations, the word crowd
usually indicates dissension. The old saying goes: two’s company but three’s a crowd.

Part V
Breeder (noun) éleveur.
Begrudge (verb) means to be reluctant in the act of giving something.
Ghost (noun) is a phantom or spirit.
The other woman (expression) is- in the context of marriage- a discreet way of saying mistress.

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