Respects to Queen Elizabeth II
My ancestors left the United Kingdom for North America during the Great European migration of the 1600s and 1700s, and I am a passionate American. However, the passing of Queen Elizabeth II from this world and the closing of the "Second Elizabethan Era" demand that I pay my respects.
I grew to love Queen Elizabeth over the years. I esteem her as a magnificent example of servant leadership and as an exemplary disciple of Jesus Christ.
The words of Jesus in Matthew 23:11 tell why Queen Elizabeth II was a great monarch and leader. In the New King James Version, they read, "[h]e who is greatest among you must be your servant." Queen Elizabeth II was a servant to her subjects as well as to her husband and family for many decades. She served as monarch for 70 years, and she was also married for 70 years.
Keeping her family on track seemed to be like herding cats for the queen, when you think of their stories. I'm not much of a royal-watcher, but I did watch the show The Crown and learned much from it about the drama she lived.
The drama began when she was a child and she and her family were thrust into the position of serving because her uncle abdicated the throne to marry an American divorcée, making her father king. The burden of being a monarch fell upon her later, when her father died. She became queen as a twenty-something, newly married to the love of her life. (Ironically, Queen Elizabeth's grandson Harry married an American, too, one who has taken him away from the queen, the family, and the "family business" to Los Angeles.)
I remember much about Queen Elizabeth II: her consistently charming appearance in hats and suits, often with a beautiful smile; her sweet but firm voice; her love story with Prince Phillip, who died recently at age 99; and her love of horses and Corgi dogs and the outdoors in Scotland.
Speaking of Scotland, my husband Peter and I went to Scotland on our honeymoon in 1981. (We both have ancestral roots in the U.K.) One Sunday, we were at Balmoral, where the queen's beloved castle was. We drove around a corner and saw Crathie Church, where many, many ordinary people had gathered and were waiting. (Notably, she died the morning of September 8, 2022, at Balmoral.) We pulled in and parked, and Peter went to ask people what was happening. He learned that the royal family would be coming to church any time. We decided to wait with the people and see the royals come to church.
The people were in a festive mood and very excited. Fathers and mothers with their children stood by along with grandparents and friends and neighbors. It was apparent that they really loved the royals and they especially loved Queen Elizabeth II.
Eventually, fancy black vehicles arrived and drove up to the church past the people. Inside the vehicles we could see Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip in one vehicle and Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the other. The royals waved at the people and smiled. The people smiled and cheered and waved at their beloved queen and the others. (Prince Charles — now King Charles III — and Diana had been married only a short while before, a couple of weeks before we ourselves were married.)
When my photos were processed as we returned home to the USA after the honeymoon, it was really fun to see that we had captured not just the royals, but the people, reflected in the windows of the vehicles, smiling and waving at Queen Elizabeth and her family members.
Also, in the photos I could see a family that was exhausted by wedding festivities and just starting to adjust to real life after a marriage. Queen Elizabeth II seemed to be a mother and mother-in-law who was hopeful that things would work out well.
Of course, we now know that things did not work out well for Charles and Diana. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip were probably disappointed and grieved in a deep way. However, they did get two grandsons out of the deal. The thing is, Queen Elizabeth persevered through that hard time as she had through many others, including World War II. All the while, Queen Elizabeth II served as a strong head of state for her nation.
Hopefully, media will note the wonderful servant leadership of Queen Elizabeth II in the coming days. She should be called Queen Elizabeth the Great.