The Madness of Grief: an alternative to the facade of forced national mourning

I started reading The Madness of Grief, a memoir by The Reverend Richard Coles, before the queen’s death. Grief is a topic that has interested me ever since my best mate died, in 2007. The enormity of his loss sent shockwaves through my life, and the grief that followed took me years to accept, understand and live with.

I was a couple of chapters into this when the queen died. The resulting all-consuming, constant and relentless media coverage that dominated this country (and, arguably, the world) for the days and weeks since, put me off wanting to read anything at all to do with death and grief.

I am not a monarchist, and despite what the media tried to portray, no, the entire nation was not united in grief for an elderly, entitled, wealthy and overly-privileged woman who happened, by chance, to be our unelected head of state. I found the forced national mourning to be repulsive; a classic example of state propaganda.

I struggled on to the half-way point and gave up. The writing is good; Cole’s story of losing his husband is engaging and moving, but I think I’ll wait until another time to finish this particular book.

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