One of history’s most impactful royal reigns – and a life devoted to exemplary public service – has come to an end. We bow our heads to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Today there are few people in the world who do not feel bereaved. After Queen Elizabeth II’s peaceful passing on 8 September 2022 at age 96, our condolences go out to the Windsor-Mountbatten family who lost their matriarch, as well as the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth who lost their sovereign and Head of State. But more than that – in these complex times the world lost the last beacon of stability, represented by a tiny, much beloved grandmotherly figure.
There is nothing new or unique we can add to the eulogies and commentaries that have poured in from around entire globe. Elizabeth II was a queen like no other, a leader, a visionary, a stateswoman, a diplomat, even a clandestine feminist – but always a lady from well-coiffed head to sensibly shod toes. She was deeply devoted to her country and people, seeing the empire she inherited go from imperial colonialism to independent states where she was merely a ceremonial figurehead. Some may think she was a relic from another age but that would be colossally underestimating her discrete influence on the world stage. Above all though she put service and duty first, gracefully accepting her lot to live a life of duty in the public eye with no way out. She thrived on seeing her people do well.
Her era will be a tough act to follow by King Charles III. Yet its end also bears hope of a new beginning with a revised concept of what monarchy in the 21st century means. A more hands-on role in critical questions like the environment maybe, or a slimmed-down version of British pomp and circumstance at taxpayers’ expense…
A fluent French speaker and a lover of the French fine arts, the Queen also left her mark on the French Riviera and notably on Monaco. Regional leaders expressed their sadness on the passing of a sovereign whose “…unwavering commitment and dedication to duty during Her reign has always been extremely inspiring; It will be long remembered and admired. She truly represented the unity and dignity of the United Kingdom throughout the last seven decades” (Prince Albert II of Monaco) and called her “a figure belonging to world heritage” (mayor David Lisnard of Cannes). In Nice, mayor Christian Estrosi paid homage to the defunct monarch with a ceremony on the Promenade des Anglais.
A chapter in history has come to an end. The page is turned and is blank, waiting for new lines to be written. We wish King Charles III. a peaceful and successful reign. Godspeed Ma’am, and God save the King.
Lead image by By Elli Gerra – https://www.flickr.com/photos/164626333@N02/49894756216/, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=106707655; licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication (image edited – cropped)