WHETHER you are a Monarchist or not one cannot fail to have been subject to the presence of Her Majesty the Queen, whether it be on your bank note, coins, stamps, radio, TV, newspapers or Royal visits. A woman who gave her whole life in dedicated service to her country.
Her Majesty the Queen has been part of British life for almost a century. She has seen 15 Prime Ministers come and go including Sir Winston Churchill.
Elizabeth II was the matriarch of a very large family, which like most has had its ups and downs albeit surrounded by the wealth and decadence the title benefitted from and at a cost of being in the public eye more than almost anyone in the World.
Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth).
Elizabeth began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In November 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, and their marriage lasted 73 years until his death in April 2021. They had four children together: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953 and from then on took on a role, which has seen her at the centre of almost every world event, which impacted on Great Britain such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, devolution in the United Kingdom, the decolonisation of Africa, and the United Kingdom’s accession to the European Communities and withdrawal from the European Union. Her many historic visits and meetings include state visits to China in 1986, Russia in 1994, the Republic of Ireland in 2011, and visits to or from five popes. A woman in the highest position in the land during a time when women’s rights was not even a term that had been used.
Significant events include Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, Diamond, and Platinum jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012, and 2022, respectively. Elizabeth was the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch, the oldest and longest-serving incumbent head of state, and is considered the second-longest reigning sovereign monarch in world history. She has faced occasional republican sentiment and media criticism of her family, particularly after the breakdowns of her children’s marriages, her annus horribilis in 1992, and the death of her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997. However, support for the monarchy in the United Kingdom remains consistently high, as does her personal popularity.
Generations who grew up during Queen Elizabeth’s reign will no doubt be affected by her passing. She was a shining example as a woman despite the turbulence within the Royal Family and the media rush to present that at every opportunity. There was a common touch, which those who met her say put them at ease. If truth be known the person who knew her best and solely qualified to comment on her character was her husband Prince Philip who died on 9 April 2021, after 73 years of marriage. Elizabeth II was the first British monarch to reign as a widow or widower since Queen Victoria.
Scrutinised, attacked, but also loved; Queen Elizabeth was a mother, a grand mother and great grandmother, Head of State, Head of the Commonwealth and the Supreme Governor of the established Church of England. The constant figure of stability and steadfastness of the United Kingdom in all aspects of our lives.
As world leaders pay their tributes the World will stop and the world will mourn. Perhaps we could all take a minute to remember the life of an extraordinary woman and the end of an extraordinary era of dedicated service to the country as we ready ourselves for the successor King Charles III.
Her Majesty the Queen – 21 April 1926 – 08 September 2022