Just how Jewish is our Platinum Queen?

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Just how Jewish is our Platinum Queen?

Lizzie once had a Jewish brother-in-law and it was rumoured her mechutanim might be Jewish, but as she marks her Platinum Jubilee, can we claim her any more than that?

One of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting is Jewish
One of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting is Jewish

Adam Sandler has sung four versions of his Chanukah song, lovingly outing any celebrity who had even a millilitre of Jewish blood. The Queen wasn’t in any of them. For good reason. She is not remotely Jewish and though the wags among us joke about the ‘Jewbilee’ it’s safe to say there will be no klezmer band on The Mall or a revved-up Israeli guy belting out Moshiach, Moshiach, Moshiach at the People’s Parade.

Keen as we are as to be part of every celebration, the only Jew-ish vibes around this function are excessive tree planting – which we’ve been doing for years – and enthusiastic pudding making, which is very Florence Greenberg. Flo would have chosen lokshen over a seven-layer amaretti trifle every time, though I doubt Her Majesty has tried lokshen pud or kugel either for that matter. She does have a lot of cooks in the kitchen though, so she has that in common with all Jewish women planning a simcha, but she probably doesn’t sample as many dishes before settling on one.

Trying to establish genuine Jewish links to Elizabeth II isn’t easy as there isn’t even a Prime Minister of the faith to hang our hat (kippah) on. Unlike her great-great grandmother Victoria, there has been no Benjamin Disraeli during the Queen’s 70- year reign. Had the Miliband brothers not gone all Kane and Abel during their pitch for top job, things could have been so different. But wait, wasn’t the best looking member of the royal household Jewish? Yes, in brother-in-law – Antony Armstrong-Jones. The House of Windsor finally had a family member who looked dishy from any angle and he took a lot of the group snaps.

Tony, who had a German Jewish mother was the first commoner to marry a princess in over 400 years, a move that was welcomed by the public, but to avert his lack of blue blood they named him Earl of Snowdon. Tony was not only the first Jew to make it into the circle, but when he and Princess Margaret divorced in 1978 , it was the first since Henry VIII’s. But we weren’t sorry as he made some rather antisemitic comments during his time as Earl including a note he apparently wrote a note to Margaret saying: “You look like a Jewish manicurist and I hate you.” Hopefully no Jewish manicurists are reading this. Whether Tony intentionally failed to instil any Yiddishkeit in his children is obviously true, but there was no attempt to negotiate a place for Lord Linley and Lady Sarah at Carmel College, which is a shame as the school is the alma mater of  such splendid individuals as film director Roland Joffe and philathropist David Dangoor. Oh and Sir Phillip Green also went there.

Anthony Armstrong Jones

My search for another Jewish face took me to the Queen’s bedchamber, where Virginia Fortune Ogilvy, Countess of Airlie, has been the official lady-in-waiting since 1973. And guess what? She is the granddaughter of Jewish banker and philanthropist Otto Kahn. That he was also known as the King of New York might not have gone down so well.

In the Queen’s late husband, Prince Philip, we certainly had a friend, as his mother Princess Alice rescued a Jewish family during World War II. Alice, as one of the Righteous Among the Nations is buried in Jerusalem, which Phillip visited, but the Queen has not. This is a pity for many reasons notably missing out on a chance to float in the Dead Sea while reading. By all accounts the Queen likes to read.

As circumcision is no biggie for Royals, it’s fair to say our monarch has been to a bris or three and having had mohel Jacob Snowman do the snip for Charles, well, the future King is practically one of us. Evidently royal endorsement also helped with mohel marketing, with one proclaiming: ‘if it’s good enough for the royal schmeckle’ on the side of a bus.

There is a theory that Charles and Diana had an arranged marriage – a shidduch – and that union did good for Jewish designers Elizabeth and David Emanuel. But when it comes to marriage generally the Queen is very un-Jewish as she doesn’t  interfere (not even in Netflix’s The Crown).

Elizabeth and David Emanuel

Despite having a broigus-packed bunch of offspring, the Queen stays schtum and if Oprah hadn’t got busy, well before that HRH and Ms Markle shared some lovely times. Thankfully no Jews were involved in the making of that mishagus, but for a while there was a whole ‘are they or aren’t they?’ thing about the Middleton clan being Jewish. But Doreen Berger, chairman of the Jewish Genealogical Society, was having none of it and set the record straight. Kate’s brother James, however, must have been to a bar or batmitzvah as he came up with a very simcha-esque business idea – Boomf, the edible selfie. His marshmallow company (now liquidated) even exhibited at a Jewish News Simcha show, complete with gelatine. Had he checked with the Queen she would have told him. Simchas are her thing after all!

James Middleton



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