Fulfilling a promise: she lived a life of service  

Sept. 16, 2022
by Ivan Raconteur

When Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Sept. 8, it caused me sadness, but hardly surprise or shock as some people described. She was 96, after all, and even queens don’t live forever.

I never met the queen, and I never even made it to England, but the queen has always been a part of my life, in a remote sort of way.

I’ve been a dedicated Anglophile for as long as I can remember. Perhaps it started because it is in my blood. My paternal grandfather came to this country from England when he was a lad. As a result, I have always immersed myself in British culture, literature, movies, and television. The queen was woven into the fabric of Britain.

There are varying opinions about the role of the monarchy in the modern world, but the queen provided a calming sense of tradition and served as a stabilizing force in a rapidly changing world.

The queen was a familiar part of history for decades. She worked with 15 different prime ministers during her 70-year reign, going all the way back to Winston Churchill. She believed in being visible to the people and was known for her “walkabouts,” during which she would meet the public face-to-face. She traveled to 117 countries during her reign and hosted 112 state visits.

I find it difficult to imagine what it was like to be in such a public position for so long. She essentially spent her entire adult life in the role. I suppose that’s why, except for in formal references, she was known simply as the queen. She was the only monarch that many people ever knew.

She worked hard to keep her private and public lives separate, but it still must have felt like she was living under a microscope. Any time there was a matter of national importance, the country would look to her for a response. She grew up in a world in which she was trained never to show emotion, and there must have been times when that was extremely difficult.

She was well-liked, and many considered her the nation’s grandmother. As a young woman, she promised to devote her life to the service of her people, and it seems she kept that promise with courage and grace, no matter how much the world changed.

It’s impossible to predict the future of the British monarchy, but it just won’t be the same without the queen.

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