I woke up early, here in India, to the sad news that our beloved queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, had died yesterday. There were messages waiting from my children in Indonesia and China, from a dear American friend, from my sister in Canada, and from UK based friends.
Without exception, everyone said they were feeling sad and bereft. And I know for a fact that several of these dear people are definitely not monarchists.
I admit to weeping on hearing the news.
And I have wept a few more times during the day…
…when watching the official announcement on the Beeb.
…when listening to the eloquent, moving tribute from the French President M. Macron.
Her Majesty was 96, so it was not a wholly unexpected event, per se, but I think, like so many people around the globe, we all just expected her to – well – just always be there.
HM was always there.
I remember in my early childhood, looking at the photos in 2 red leather-bound books about the Coronation, which my parents had – & which were amongst the very few books I brought back with me to India, when we closed down our childhood home, on the death of my mother.
So yes, like so many millions of people who never met Her Majesty, I feel sad and surprisingly emotional. That much overused cliché “so and so touched all our lives” is, for once, completely true about the Queen.
I’m not going to attempt to analyse why we all feel this way about someone we never met, but my sister, speaking from Vancouver this morning, made a very valid point:
People could identify with her and feel British even when pissed off with politicians.
A dear friend, an Oxford contemporary, also made a very valid point:
I feel a very real sense of loss. I guess it’s a last farewell to that wartime generation of our parents and all they stood for.
Like so many Brits, I imagine, I wish the King (how strange that sounds) nothing but the best as he takes up the baton from his adored mother. The UK faces many challenges in the coming months – a brand new Prime Minster, a deeply unpopular ruling party, and the threat of real economic hardship, much of it due to the madness that was Brexit.
We need – cliché alert – a firm hand on the tiller, so here’s hoping His Majesty will provide just that.
And so many of us around the world will continue to mourn a very fine lady with a ferocious work ethic and an unwavering sense of duty.
Godspeed, your Majesty.
And a few lovely, informal photos of a very regal lady.