What more can be said? Thousands of pages have already been written. All I can add are my personal remembrances.
My earliest memories come from 1945. It was a photo showing the two princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret, standing by the rear wheel of a light military truck. They had been learning how to change a type. It was all part of the war effort. I was impressed. I am still impressed.
My father held the girl’s father, King George VI, in high esteem. He showed me a newspaper photo of King George in a smoldering, bombed out London Street talking to residents. “He could have hidden in the countryside,” Dad told me.
Queen Elizabeth followed in her father’s footsteps. She never walked away from difficult situations and there were plenty. The decades of her reign were times of amazing and bewildering change. Changes in social attitudes were as great as the technical changes.
For instance, I was the first person in my extended family to be divorced and remarried. At that time, it was a matter of great shame in our extended family. It was something everybody knew but no one talked about. It was as far as possible, hush hush. It wasn’t just my family who were like this. Being secretive about family problems, for instance marital hick-ups, was standard practice at this time.
Queen Elizabeth’s social life and family life was not only talked about, it was the hottest of hot news. Nothing could ever be hushed up. On the contrary, it was placarded on the cover of magazines and TV news and radio talk shows. I reckon that everything bad that could happen in a family, and in an extended family, happened in Queen Elizabeth’s family. And it has kept on coming to this the last year of her reign. While the rest of her subjects brushed family strife under the carpet, problems in her family were hot news. Unflinching she faced it all.
It is not as if she has been impervious to these trials and misfortunes. At times, even in her public life, there has been the furrowed brow and hint of anger and distress. I am sure that like all of us, she has walked the vale of tears. However, her constant message has been one of love and support for her people - us.
In turn, she has encouraged us to do our best in difficult times. She was not interested in blaming or judging. Whilst acknowledging the fast changing and confusing time in which we live, she has been an advocate for loyalty, honesty, and forgiveness. She talked about these values and to my mind, she modelled them.
And what of the pomp and ceremony of the monarchy? What about the castles and estates, the royal household, the pomp and circumstance and all that this costs and entails? Shouldn’t that now be done away with? What would we replace it with? No doubt corporations, government think-tanks, hotel chains and casinos would have ideas for the estates and stately homes. None of these appeals to me. I see the monarchy as a living connection with a wider world, with the past, recent, and ancient.
Queen Elizabeth, thank you for your input into the life of my country, to the nations of the world and into my life. You helped us “Carry on”. You helped me to “Carry On”.
From the Tributes book
You did a great job of making the world better.
A true lady who graced the world with her passion and wisdom and generosity of spirit. She will be
truly missed by so many. R.I.P
Shay and Steve Geach
A mighty tree has fallen
As the leaves fall, so do our tears.
As the branches break, so do our hearts. R.I.P
Arohanui. Thanks for the Treaty.
Narolei and Caroline
Thank you Queen Elizabeth for your dedication, your love and loyalty to your people and your faith in God. Rest now in Jesus.
What a beautiful Queen you have been. We honour you, an amazing lady. God bless.
The passing of our dear Queen, it has been the best years knowing you. You were our leader. I am
so sad. I will miss our Christmas evening speech. You were our calm, Queen Elizabeth.
Thanks for your service to the Commonwealth and their loyal subjects.
Ben and Asher
Her class act as Monarch was always appreciated. Unflappable. And with so much strength in reserve even when President Trump came to visit.
You have been an inspiration through the generations. RIP dearest Queen, you have been truly amazing in your rule.
A mighty tree has fallen
As the leaves fall
...so do our tears
As the branches break
...so do our hearts.
R.I.P. Arohanui, thanks for the Treaty.
Harold and Caroline