WORLD MOURNS PASSING OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II
She wasn’t just a constant. She was THE constant, or the ever-present ‘north star’ as one of her aides put it.
Queen Elizabeth’s passing at age 96 on Thursday, September 8, 2022, at Balmoral Castle in Scotland was perhaps not a shock given her advance years, but it is a blow nonetheless and the end of the Second Elizabethan Age.
She was the ‘accidental Queen’. Her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 for American divorcee Wallace Simpson, leaving the throne to her father George VI in the biggest royal scandal in history. Suddenly, King George VI’s eldest daughter was heir to the British Throne – something that was never in the playbooks or young Elizabeth’s thinking. But when her father died in 1952, she ascended to the throne with the famous speech, “whether my life is long or short, I dedicate it to your service”.
She remained steadfastly true to that service, a service which ended after 70 remarkable years on September 8th on a rainy Thursday at her beloved Balmoral Castle. While her father was a reluctant King, she became a dutiful Queen.
She became the most photographed human on the planet and reigned during the most transformational time in history. When she assumed the throne, few Britons rode in cars or had indoor plumbing. Just two days before she died, she welcomed her 15th Prime Minister to the job, Liz Truss, and she had met fourteen President’s of The United States during her reign and twelve Canadian Prime Ministers.
She led the recovery through the post-war years of the 1950s, adapted to the swinging years and cultural change of the 1960s, endured the tumult and royal scandals of the 1980s and 1990s, and adopted through the technological change of the 2000s. She was the first member of the Royal Family to send a tweet, and her annual Christmas Television Broadcasts were always the most watched television shows of the year in Britain.
It will be hard to imagine a world without Queen Elizabeth II. It will be difficult to endure the coming period of national mourning culminating in what is sure to be the largest and most grand funeral any of us have ever witnessed. Followed by the Coronation of King Charles III, and the new tone and direction he may take the British Monarchy.
All we can say is a mild ‘thank you’ to an accidental Queen, who reshaped the Monarchy as none before her had ever done. A treasured and valued life of duty and service.