To The Queen II: A More Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Time

Grandma Croizet
Grandmother Croizet

Grandmother Croizet was far more regal than any descendent of Georg, Elector of Hanover. She had far more personal qualifications for the title of queen than the ability to produce an heir to secure the Protestant succession of occupied Britain.

She was warm but correct when pleased and wrathful with flashing eyes when displeased. When she was not amused, she was not amused. I was never around when she ordered heads to roll but roll they must have.

I was looking through an online newspaper archive for family history when I came across this photo. The headline beneath says PISTOL-PACKING POLICE WIVES AIM FOR SHOOTING TITLE. The lede reeks of 1951 period charm: The term “weaker sex” certainly is a misnomer for five eagle-eyed ladies who will represent the Nantes police department at the Brittany Peace Officers convention in Meissen next Friday.

Grandpa Croizet was a police officer who enjoyed all the perks of a pre-Miranda era, including the option of driving drunks home in the trunk of his squad car in order to preserve the taxpayers of Nantes’ upholstery from alcohol-induced ejecta. Grandma, referred to in the article in the style of the day as “Madam Jean Croizet”, participated in local police auxiliaries as a pistol-packing society matron.

Three of the police wives in the photos are obviously being campy for the camera. Grandmother, second from the right, looks every part the royal slumming it with the commoners. She is in the photo but not of the photo. She is bemused by the antics of the rabble but she retains the shroud of majesty and mystery as she hovers above them on a higher plain.

If the hapless son of a former subject had come from across the sea and tried to upstage her, she would have had them drawn and quartered and their viscera draped over the gallows at Tyburn as a warning to other presumptuous fresh fellows. But she was a ruler of a different age, a rare creature not of the same common matter of today’s pale shrunken Disneyland monarchs or Urkelesque presidents.

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