The ‘queen’ and I

By Alex P. Vidal

“I like a man who looks like a bad boy but knows how to treat a woman like a queen.”—Candice Swanepoel

I “LOST” my queen exactly a year ago. She didn’t die like United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II, who died in Balmoral Castle on September 8, 2022 at 96.

Krisztina is still alive today. I “abandoned” her because of circumstances beyond my control; or let’s put it this way: I could’ve controlled the circumstances but fate had another plans.

Krisztina was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1934, or eight years after Elizabeth II was born in Bruton, London.

Three years ago, I met Krisztina, a half Hungarian and half German, in Brooklyn. Probably she’s one of the most beautiful and intelligent women I’ve met.

She used to tell me monarchy belongs in the past. “It has outlived its relevance,” the Brooklyn queen averred. “Governments all over the world should abolish it.”

Krisztina had been in London several times. She detests seeing tourists in mad scramble for a clear view in the gates of the Buckingham Palace, London’s royal residence and the administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom located in the City of Westminster.

The main purpose of these tourists is to wait for members of the Royal family to emerge like they are waiting, Krisztina said, for animals to come out in the forest and cheers.

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“It’s alright if this activity happened in the past or two hundred years ago. Monarchy was really relevant at that time and members of the Royal family were a sight to behold and more than celebrities, especially during the time of Queen Victoria,” Krisztina said.

“Today, the world has changed. The young generation can’t fully appreciate or understand why a certain family is given a special privilege, living in castles, and hailed as ‘royalties’. When the Romanovs were murdered, I thought it was a grim signal that monarchy didn’t belong in the new century.”

She was referring to the Russian Imperial Romanov family massacred by the local Bolshevik command with Lenin’s approval on July 17, 1918. The Tsar family was captured when the Bolshevik revolutionaries toppled the Romanov dynasty in February 1918.

Late on the night of July 16, 1918, Nicholas, Alexandra, their five children and four servants were ordered to dress quickly and go down to the cellar of the house in which they were being held.

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There, the family and servants were arranged in two rows for a photograph they were told was being taken to quell rumors that they had escaped, according to HISTORY.

Suddenly, a dozen armed men burst into the room and gunned down the imperial family in a hail of gunfire. Those who were still breathing when the smoked cleared were stabbed to death.

According to HISTORY, the remains of Nicholas, Alexandra and three of their children were excavated in a forest near Yekaterinburg in 1991 and positively identified two years later using DNA fingerprinting.

The Crown Prince Alexei and one Romanov daughter were not accounted for, fueling the persistent legend that Anastasia, the youngest Romanov daughter, had survived the execution of her family.

Of the several “Anastasias” that surfaced in Europe in the decade after the Russian Revolution, Anna Anderson, who died in the United States in 1984, was the most convincing.

In 1994, however, scientists used DNA to prove that Anna Anderson was not the czar’s daughter but a Polish woman named Franziska Schanzkowska.

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Krisztina, my queen, will forever be etched in my memory. She had tremendous influence in my transformation from a kibitzer to a big fan of old movies.

Because of Krisztina, I sometimes felt like I belong in the 40s and 50s; in three years she brought me down memory lanes while we watched and analyzed the films of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh of the Gone With The Wind; Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman of Casablanca; Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey of Adam’s Rib; Cary Grant and Grace Kelly of To Catch A Thief; Jimmy Stewart’s films with Kim Novak, Donna Reed Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth, Lucille Bell, Margaret Sullavan, Maureen O’Hara, among other leading ladies in those eras.

I became a fan of Turner Classic Movies (TCM), an American movie-oriented pay-TV network owned by Warner Bros. Discovery because of my association with Krisztina.

TCM’s channel programming consists mainly of classic theatrically released feature film library. We are hooked on this channel.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)

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