Grudges and revenges are sterile things.
I pick this phrase from Libbey Purves article in the Times today commenting on the Queen's visit to Ireland last week. Her majesty's relatives, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Baroness Brabourne, aged 83, and Nicholas Knatchbull, who was 14, and the local 15-year-old boat boy Paul Maxwell were murdered by the IRA at Mullaghmore in 1979. Nicholas’s identical twin Timothy, in a remarkable memoir of grief and reconciliation, has recently spoken of his return to Mullaghmore and meetings there.
It is perhaps easier for the young to forgive; they have a life ahead of them, but the Queen in 86, the same age as Margaret Thatcher and Marilyn Monroe, and the Prince is within weeks of his 90th birthday; it would be easier for them to sink into the old age of bitterness. That they should have behaved so remarkably well is an example to us all.
The Irish Times struck the right note when it commended the Queen on her lack of condescension. They meant that she had no sense of superiority either because she was British or because she was a sovereign. She behaved like an ordinary person, polite, without airs and graces. She went down well in Ireland and set a final seal on the troubles.