Yesterday was a very sad day – we lost our Queen. Whilst I’m not a great royalist, I have always felt nothing but respect for our Queen, who always reigned with great dignity and grace. Before I was born, she made a speech to both the UK and the Commonwealth to vow that she would carry out her duty to the best of her ability throughout her entire life – and clearly she absolutely kept to her promise, right up to the very end.
I’d hoped that, like her mother, she would see 100 come along, but it wasn’t meant to be and it seems the loss of her husband was just too much for her to continue to bear. She stoically carried on to celebrate her platinum jubilee – marking an anniversary that had never been seen before and becoming the longest reigning monarch.
For me personally, the Queen is the only monarch I have ever known – I was born an Elizabethan and have lived my whole life as one, as indeed have just about everyone in the UK, aside from those nudging into their 80s. My dad often told me he very much admired the Queen’s father, believing him to be an utterly decent man – and I believe his daughter was just like her father, utterly decent.
I only ever saw her in person once, when I was a child, at a celebration for her silver jubilee – the one thing I remembered was how petite a stature she had, which seemed at odds with the greatness of her persona – small shoulders to bear the weight of that crown.
Although most of us never had a personal acquaintance with the Queen, we felt like we knew her – she was a constant in our lives – always there, dependable and gracious.
As well as sadness, as with all passings, I believe we should celebrate a life well lived – she travelled all over the world, met all kinds of people, both famous and ordinary, bringing some royal sparkle along the way. She enjoyed a long marriage to a man she adored, had four children, eight grandchildren, and twelve greatgrandchildren. She was a great ambassador for both our country and the Commonwealth; I saw her as a role model of time-honoured values, who took her role extremely seriously, didn’t suffer fools gladly, but still kept a playful sense of humour.
Whether a royalist or not, many folks have a tear in their eye today, showing the respect that so many hold for her.
RIP Your Majesty and thank you for being my Queen.