I cannot hide my sadness, tears, or fear. The last of an old kind of Englishman had sadly been lost. A queen who through the most revolutionary periods in this nation’s history, has remained resilient and proud of what she represented. The greatest kind of life! A life of service and devotion to our nation. Perhaps the last? One cannot be sure. For what she represented is often now hidden and hushed: swept under the rug and only whispered between those trusting one another. Queen Elizabeth II was a proud Briton. Unapologetic for what she represented, which was a steadfast nation of hope, justice, enlightenment, discovery, thought, duty and fairness. With her tragic passing, this has been lost. Perhaps I exaggerate? After all, many wish to continue this legacy. Alas! They are few in number.
She was, after all, the monarchy. She was very much the institution itself. She – the institution – united the present and the past. She united the Britain that was and the Britain that is. Through her strength and devotion, she ensured the country was connected across the generations with those who saw Britain as mighty and good. It was through her that the last embers of patriotism were allowed to be shown without being harassed or hissed at by others. It is without her, that we make our first steps in a new country. The language is English, and many of Britain’s greatest achievements remain standing in stone, the names of the hamlets and the cities are the same, but the country feels different already. Against so much ill-will, she stood in defiance and was immovable.
Do not forget, when she came to the throne, the Prime Minister was Winston Churchill! A name now frowned upon. Yet, for those who know, a name to be venerated as long as our memories, both collective and individual, allow us. Let us never forget hers!
Charles III will ascend the throne and become King. Our only role now is to ensure the monarchy remains in these, no doubt, tumultuous and turbulent years ahead and is passed to William for future generations to enjoy. That is how we honour that wonderful, wonderful woman!
May she rest in peace, for she truly deserves peace!
I can only direct you to the words of T.S. Eliot for comfort. A poet whom she no doubt, knew when he was alive, and whom she no doubt often read like many of us in uncertain times:
In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane And to shake the wainscot where the field-mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.
And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate—but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
Tonight the Heralds will call
The Queen is dead! Long Live the King!