It is a day we knew was inevitable, and yet one we somehow thought, against all odds, would never come.
Queen Elizabeth II has passed away.
Inexplicably, with each milestone she surpassed, each new record of age and reign she set, despite her advancing years and emerging mobility problems, it seemed more and more like she would be queen forever.
She has been on the throne for my entire lifetime; for my mother’s entire lifetime. Sometimes described as the the “most photographed woman in the world,” she was there for her country, her commonwealth, and even the whole world, through dark times and celebrations. The woman who dedicated her “whole life whether it be long or short” to the service of her people was, in the words she used to describe her own husband, the “strength and stay” of so many, from her family and friends to her subjects to her admirers from afar.
She was never meant to sit on the throne. Born the eldest daughter of the younger son of a king, she never should have been queen. But, as we know, her uncle abdicated his throne after less than a year, forcing her father to take his place. Even then, she was never known as “heiress apparent,” due to the male-preference primogeniture that was law at that time in the United Kingdom; instead, she was “heiress presumptive” until the day she took the throne herself.
It is hard to imagine a world without her. She was always there, with her bright smile and bright wardrobe, setting people at ease, leading with grace and dignity. She brought a continuity to her government and the world around her that is almost unheard of…in her time, she had 15 prime ministers, dating back to Winston Churchill himself! She saw other world leaders come and go, but she was always a constant. It is hard to remember that the words to “God Save the Queen” have another variation; hard to comprehend the idea of a king on the throne of the United Kingdom.
She was a most remarkable woman in every way. The second Elizabethan Age has come to an end. She now rests with the Lord she served so faithfully for so long.
Requiescat in pace.
The Queen is dead. Long live the King.