Warning: A staunch royalist’s pov.
News reporters had used every possible mourning cliché available to them in the English language and every single one of them resonated with me deeply, and will continue to do so probably for the rest of my life, to use another cliché.
Grandmother of the nation, a unifying force, a symbol of stability, a lifetime of an unwavering sense of duty and service, dedication and sacrifice, a beacon of dignity and poise, a constant source of reassurance and comforting continuity.
Governments changed, wars started and ended, we won the World Cup, we lost penalty shoot-outs, we joined the EEC, we left the EU; the Queen was always there.
Whoever said nobody was irreplaceable, could not have been talking about Queen Elizabeth II.
One of my biggest regrets is that I had never met the Queen in person. That did not stop me, like millions others, to have adopted her as my longest surviving grandmother. As she got older, the Queen’s physical appearance reminded me more and more of my own grandmother, and my mother in their last years of life. The resemblance was uncanny. I was far from alone in that thinking, of course, as I have heard the same sentiment repeated word for word by friends, family and countless people in the media.
Listening to extracts from the Queen’s speeches has been a great comfort over the last couple of weeks. As I go over the soundbites, I celebrate her extraordinary life.
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.
I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.
I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else – I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.
I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.
Let us not take ourselves too seriously. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom.
Perhaps we make too much of what is wrong and too little of what is right. The trouble with gloom is that it feeds upon itself and depression causes more depression. In times of doubt and anxiety the attitudes people show in their daily lives, in their homes, and in their work, are of supreme importance.
Over the years, those who have seemed to me to be the most happy, contented and fulfilled have always been the people who have lived the most outgoing and unselfish lives.
If I am asked what I think about family life after 25 years of marriage, I can answer with equal simplicity and conviction, I am for it.
No age group has a monopoly of wisdom, and indeed I think the young can sometimes be wiser than us. But the older I get, the more conscious I become of the difficulties young people have to face as they learn to live in the modern world.
Grief is the price we pay for love.
I am going to miss her. I miss her already. With time, I will miss her more, the way we miss our nearest and dearest more, not less, the longer they have been gone.
I will miss her dry sense of humour, and her famous twinkle, her grandmotherly smile, her old-fashioned yet outrageous outfits, and her attentive listening.
In three months’ time, on the afternoon of the 25th of December, I will miss her calm reassuring voice wishing me and my family a very happy Christmas.
But more than all that, I will miss the feeling that no matter what happened next in the world, what inept politicians, airheaded celebrities and anybody else threw at us, at least we had the Queen with her ability to make it all a little more dignified, and a little bit better.