It was with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8th September. Throughout her unprecedented 70-year reign, her sense of duty and public service never wavered, and her commitment to serving our country was beyond compare.
Of course, the fact that the Queen was on the throne for such a long time means that many of us have never known life under any other monarch. That made her a hugely familiar and comforting figure in public life and meant that, for many of us, her passing felt very unsettling.
The moment was prepared for, and we can be sure that the monarchy will continue to thrive and move forward under the reign of King Charles III. But for now, we remember our late Queen and think about what she meant to each and every one of us.
Queen Elizabeth’s life of steadfast devotion to our country was particularly impressive when you remember that, unlike King Charles, she wasn’t destined to be the monarch from birth.
Her father, King George VI, only became the monarch after his older brother, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936, and at that moment, the course of the then Princess Elizabeth’s life was set.
Elizabeth also became the monarch much sooner than she could ever have expected, following the tragic death of her father in 1952, but from that point on, she performed her duties with unswerving devotion.
On the one hand, she was a crucial element of how the country was run, performing tasks such as opening each new session of Parliament and granting Royal Assent to legislation.
But most of us will perhaps remember her more for her ability to represent our nation and give us a sense of stability and continuity, particularly during turbulent times.
Who can forget her address to the nation in April 2020, the height of the first lockdown, when she promised us that better days lay ahead and that we would see our families again?
The effect this had can’t be understated; the Queen had played her part in helping the country recover from its darkest hour in the 1940s, and now once again, she was stepping up to reassure us in our biggest peacetime crisis.
Queen Elizabeth became the one constant in our lives at a time when the world was changing all around us, and the British people truly valued that – and now she has gone.
On her 21st birthday in 1947, the Queen famously said: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
Queen Elizabeth faithfully kept this promise, and as we say goodbye to our longest-serving monarch, we give thanks for her service and her long life.