Saturday, March 25, 2023

A royalty with a difference

When the United Kingdom’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at the age of 96 on September 8, it was the end of not only an eventful 70-year era but also of a glob-al icon who personified devotion, duty and empathy in an exceptional way. Besides 500 heads of state and foreign dignitaries who were present at the funeral ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey, there were representatives from 175 countries including 19 monarchs, 55 presidents and 23 prime ministers. Throughout her long reign, Queen Elizabeth never wa-vered in her devotion to state and family but managed to draw the line in a most remarkable way. As head of the Church of England she was herself a Christian leader and she never shied away from professing her deep devotion to the teachings of Jesus Christ. She was not only the Queen of the UK but the Queen of hearts of millions who saw or read about how she shoul-dered the immense responsibility in providing a difficult balance and stability. The Queen pro-vided much needed stability while the world around witnessed upheavals at many fronts- be it the 50s when Britain was economically devastated by the Second World War and when the Sun was gradually setting on the British Empire. Britain experienced the music revolution and anti-establishment movement in the 60s; the strikes, economic failures of the 70s, the end of militant unions and sky rocketing unemployment in the 80s; the rise in multiculturalism and alternative media in the 90s; the violent 2000s where rioting and terrorist acts gripped the nation and the pandemic. Queen Elizabeth II, as a teen witnessed the horrors of World War II and as an aged sovereign saw the agonies of a deadly pandemic and the personal pain of her own family’s tur-moil. Known for her efforts to modernise the institution of monarchy, Queen Elizabeth broke away with tradition in many ways. Under Elizabeth II, the British monarchy survived by chang-ing its outward appearance without changing its public role. She celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in 2022 as the second longest reigning monarch in history( after Louis XIV, the King of France). She weathered the family storms caused by divorces among her children and the pain-ful episode of Harry-Meghan. However, Queen Elizabeth probably never recovered from the loss of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, who died just a few months short of his 100th birthday. At his funeral, the Queen cut an unusually lonely figure, sitting alone due to Covid regulations. As her health declined in the months following the death of Prince Philip, the deep impact on the Queen became all too apparent and the end came on September 8,2022 at her fa-vourite residence at Balmoral Castle, Scotland. Though many among the younger generation in Britain may be ignorant of how Queen Elizabeth provided strength and stability to her state in times of need in the past; and while some are not quite supportive of continuing with the mon-archy; yet she won the respect and admiration of all by her resilience and commitment. Queen Elizabeth II united everyone and steered the monarchy through the storms to prove that she was indeed the jewel in the crown. Her passing away is not only a great loss to the UK but also to millions across the world in whose eyes she was the most endearing monarch in world history.

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