Most people would say that they have two grandmothers – the mother of their father, and the mother of their mother.
However, for the fifteen nations that make up the Commonwealth Realms, I believe it can be equally said that we all have three grandmothers. The mother of our fathers, the mother of our mothers, and the mother of nations.
Queen Elizabeth II was the nation’s grandmother, one who was dearly loved and cherished.
For many alive Elizabeth II was not just The Queen, but The Queen. A whole generation of people has been born, grown up and died only knowing Queen Elizabeth II as the Queen of the United Kingdom, the Queen of Canada, the Queen of Australia, the Queen of Jamaica, etc. She has been an almost constant presence in modern British history, from the dark and troubled days of the Second World War to the turbulent and chaotic times of the 21st century.
It’s still hard to describe just how strange everything feels now. The Queen is dead, and the world will never be the same again.
All of us will remember her unfailing service, her sincere faith, her eternal good cheer, and her unflinching desire to make good her promises to the Commonwealth so many years ago. Those who had the privilege of meeting her recall her warmth, her razor-sharp wit and dry humour, and her capacity to make you feel like you were the most important person in the room, not she. She was a giant of her times and there is not one figure in recent history who can command as much respect or adoration.
Queen Elizabeth II oversaw the transition of Empire to Commonwealth, of a war-torn society to a burgeoning modern democracy, a world riven by authoritarianism stepping into the light of liberty. She faced down apartheid in South Africa, applauded her former colonies as they embraced independence, and prayed each year for the good fortune and happiness of all her subjects.
Under her Crown, we were all one people.
It was undeniably the highest honour imaginable to have been a subject to such a monarch, and it is my keenest sorrow to witness her passing. I know that she found courage in her faith in Christ and the Church of England, and I have no doubt she we will walk with the King of Kings through the gates of Heaven.
Her son, King Charles III, has now assumed her throne. I have every confidence in him to ably succeed her in this heavy burden that he has now been called by Grace to take upon his shoulders. He has had a lifetime of tutelage under one of Britain’s most beloved and respected monarchs in her history and has demonstrated remarkable insight and wisdom that was truly ahead of its times.
He inherits a Commonwealth equally at a time of change as his mother found it, a United Kingdom facing challenges at home and abroad, and a Royal Family constantly shifting to keep up with the demands of its age. A trying time for anyone, but His Majesty is up to the challenge. I eagerly look forward to seeing the fruits of his reign.
I was honoured to have been a subject of Queen Elizabeth II. I am honoured still to now declare myself a loyal, obedient and joyful subject of His Majesty King Charles III.
God save The King.