Today marks the 60th anniversary of our Sovereign, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne, which has been marked by special services, prayers, speeches and a massive 62 gun salute to her. The Diamond Jubilee proper won’t take place until later in the year, but today is the day that we celebrate her unfailing and unwavering service to our country.
It is a fantastic tribute that in this day and age of temporary-ness and the idea of self not service that this wonderful lady has got absolutely no intentions of hanging up her crown just yet and has renewed her pledge to serve us until the day she dies.
At 85 years of age, Queen Elizabeth perhaps should be enjoying some time off, maybe a bit of a holiday, some well-deserved R&R…but she is absolutely determined that she will not give up. I find her absolutely inspirational and more people should look at who she is and how she lives her life. A lot of short-sighted people criticise her for her lifestyle, for her life of privilege and wealth and for her seemingly out-of-touch attitude towards the ordinary man in the street.
But what they don’t see is a woman who has put service before self throughout her life: She has survived many family and personal tragedies, has travelled extensively on our behalf, has been the face of Great Britain during times when we weren’t very well received by other countries. She has sat through endless state occasions, been frozen on parades up and down the country, and has had to address the nation during times of conflict and hardship. She has had to sit through weekly meetings with Prime Ministers, some of whom she doesn’t actually like, and has had to visit some of the most tedious places imaginable and all in the name of duty and service.
She has never once said (publicly, at least) that she didn’t want the job or that she should step down and allow Charles to become King. She has never grumbled or moaned and she has managed to put a brave face on things even when her own heart must have surely been broken – the loss of her mother and her sister so close together can’t have been easy, even for a royal.
But that’s just the thing – to her, it isn’t just a JOB, it is a CALLING, a vocation if you like. You can retire from a job, but you can’t retire from a calling and that is something that not many people can get their heads around.
Elizabeth was brought up with the expectation that her own life cannot truly be called her own. Many normal life-choices have been made for her by the fact that she has a duty to perform, and she hasn’t been able to enjoy the everyday freedoms that everybody else has.
As I said earlier, I do find her inspirational and I would like to see her carry on for as long as she can. A lot of people can learn a lot from her example of putting the bigger picture before their own needs. There is a little note of warning though – I fear that because of the closeness and support she receives from Prince Philip when he is no longer fit or able to be there for her she will collapse and it will all be over quite quickly. I hope that that day is a long way off yet though!!
In the words of our National Anthem – God save our gracious Queen, long live our noble Queen, long to reign over us, God save our Queen.