Yesterday, the only monarch as a Brit I’ve known passed away at 96 years old. After 70 years as our monarch Queen Elizabeth breathed her last and for the first time I heard the words ‘The King’.
The public out pouring of grief has been beyond anything I’ve ever known. I think where she was the first really visible monarch who travelled the world extensively helped put her in many people’s hearts. I’m not historian, but I’ve not really heard of any other Royal, or head of state that did as much as she did in terms of engaging with the people of the Britain and the Commonwealth.
Something that I feel has really stood out about Elizabeth II was how she presented herself to the world. She had a dignity, a calmness, a sense of duty that I think many of us could learn from. For someone who was never meant to be monarch she took the role on seeming to view it not only as a duty but a privilege. I don’t think we’ll ever see a head of state with such determination and selflessness. Even if King Charles III carries on his mothers ways (which I’ve seen commentators mention that was how her father ruled as well) I don’t think he’s going to be able to. I think she was one of a kind and one we’re going to miss.
Queen Elizabeth wasn’t perfect, and she’s had her critics and many of them are spewing a lot of hatred online. I respect honest, constructive criticism, but some of what I’ve seen is just nasty and vicious for the sake of being nasty and vicious. Yes, she was the ruler of an empire built on rape, murder and theft. Colonisation was horrific and I don’t think it’s something we should be proud of.
I don’t know what her thoughts on that were, from what I’ve seen people say over the past day I doubt she ever shared them publicly. From what I can make out she never shared anything like that publicly. Even to the point of clapping for the same length of time at the Royal Variety Performance so’s not to upset anyone if she clapped less for them.
I think people wanted to hear from her regarding the recent allegations made against Prince Andrew. One person I saw online took particular issue with the fact that Prince Andrew walked by her side as she attended Prince Philip’s funeral. The shock of a mother wanting her son by her son as they laid to rest a husband and father.
There’s been so many controversies just in my life time alone, but I don’t think they will be what Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered for. I think it’ll be the woman who served during the Second World War. It’ll be the woman who lost her beloved father when he was still in his fifties and she was twenty-five, and then being crowed Queen while still grieving his loss. But her determination, her sense of duty, her dignity, and so much more made her a monarch that I think will go down in history as one of the greatest. I heard a few commentators referring to her as Elizabeth the Great yesterday, and I think that is fair. How many of us would have wanted to be in her shoes? Okay, she had wealth and power beyond the wildest dreams of many but would we want the worlds eyes on us every step we made? When I think about my family (mainly extended family) and what some members of it have done I’m not gonna be too hard of the late queen for not saying or doing this in regards to scandals. And don’t forget, we don’t know what she said behind closed doors.
I’m going to remember Queen Elizabeth II for the smile she had when she realised one of the royal guards was actually Prince Phillip dressed up to make her smile. I’m going to remember a woman who looked like she put her duty as Queen above anything she could have wished for herself.
On a side note, I hope I’m half as active as she was. Especially in those years when most people are settling into retirement.
Thank you for your service, you can rest now.