Queen as commodity, muse for artists, fans

Category: Top Stories


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. commodity / kəˈmɒd ɪ ti / (n.) – something that can be sold, bought, or traded

    The country’s most valuable commodities are microchips and grains.

  2. muse / myuz / (n.) – someone or something that inspires ideas in an artist, writer, etc.

    The painter said that his muse is his wife.

  3. conduit / ˈkɒn dwɪt / (n.) – someone or something used as a way of communicating or sending something

    The internet has become a very important and convenient conduit of information.

  4. visage / ˈvɪz ɪdʒ / (n.) – face

    Our national hero’s visage is printed on our money.

  5. tchotchke / ˈtʃɑtʃ kə / (n.) – a small, cheap object that’s used as a souvenir or decoration

    She has a collection of fridge magnets, paperweights, and other tchotchkes from different countries.


Read the text below.

For a lifetime, she was everywhere all at once.

Queen Elizabeth II was a history-making sovereign, to be sure, but she was also a commodity, an artist’s muse, a conduit for self-expression on the street, many streets in fact, well beyond those of Britain.

At 96, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch died Sept. 8 after a reign of 70 years, but her visage lives on, including her world-famous profile. She has borne sculptures, gallery works — a huge portrait in Kosovo made entirely of corn, peas and beans.

The world’s merchandise machine has produced enough tchotchkes to last another 70 years, perhaps. And they didn’t forget her beloved corgis that delighted fans.

During her weeks-long Platinum Jubilee celebrations that ended in June, the Sydney Opera House was illuminated in purple for the queen who said little about her private life as she went about her public duties. In death, her face was beamed onto the iconic structure, and an electronics shop in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, tuned every available screen for sale on news coverage.

Flower memorials spread quickly around the world.

From her tiaras, hats and Hermes scarves to her Launer handbags and even her umbrellas, the queen’s style has been hyper-documented since her birth, young princess days, ascension to the throne and through her sunset years.

She was neither trendsetter nor trend follower, yet that face will remain on souvenir store shelves and in the hearts of fans who are also makers for years to come, long after her in memoriam profile done in glitter paint on a tree near Buckingham Palace is washed away.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Queen Elizabeth II was so famous, companies have produced enough souvenirs to probably last for another 70 years. What do you think about stores making products based on famous people even after they have passed away (ex. it’s disrespectful, it’s a celebration of the person’s legacy)? Why? Discuss.
  • Would you buy a piece of merchandise remembering a famous person? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • The queen’s style has been hyper-documented since her birth, young princess days, ascension to the throne, and through her sunset years. Why do you think people are fascinated with royalty? Discuss.
  • If you were a famous person, would you like to be featured in different products and souvenirs? Why or why not? Discuss.