Thoughts on the Queen’s death

September 15, 2022


The Queen’s death. Not unexpected. But still a bit of a shock.

A family has suffered a deep loss, one that’s written all over each of their stricken faces. I can not look at Princess Anne without being reminded of the loss of my own beloved mother.  Let us not forget that first and foremost, this is a family who has lost its precious matriarch. It is a deeply personal loss to them.

The hymns and prayers in all the services have been beautiful and comforting for a time of sorrow, especially the moving lament of Psalm 118: 17-21 sung so mournfully in Scots Gaelic at St. Giles to the accompaniment of a harp. The choir was truly moving. Whether you feel the loss of this woman or not, music can bring back all of your own losses.

The value of ritual

I’ve spent hours deeply immersed in the events and ritual surrounding the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Ritual helps us process our feelings and also, for me, served as a catalyst for feeling the weight of history. For 10 centuries, these rituals have been done in similar fashion. I feel that weight, that connection with the ancient past and all I know of what came before.

It’s eye-opening learn that the Crown of Scotland placed atop Queen Elizabeth’s coffin in Scotland was refurbished for the coronation of James V in 1513. A very long time ago. It is pristine. And so incredibly ancient.

As a former British colony, we are a young country. Our own connection with the ancient past is only through our former mother country. Yes, it’s British history. But let us not forget that it’s also our history. Whether we like it or not.

People today…sigh

On social media I see many mean-spirited comments about the Queen, the King and the monarchy, comments pointing the finger at the monarchy for sins of the past.

History is history. We can not go back. We can not change history. We can not make up for the many wrongs done in the past. Both the recent past and the ancient past.  (This is why I am not in favor of reparations. But that is a conversation for another day.)

Wrongs have been perpetuated over time in every country, not just the U.K. And still are. We can only learn from them and go forward in a more positive way. A more humane way. A more intelligent way.

For me, this is not the time to scream insults and point fingers. It’s a time to look at what we might learn from a lifetime of steadfast duty. The Queen belonged to a different era, one that did not challenge tradition. My parents’ era.

She was custodian of an ancient monarchy that has survived so much over the centuries. She didn’t see it as merely a job–she saw it as her duty, thrust upon her by fate. So, yes, truly, duty.

Today, few of us possess a deep understanding of duty.

Change is inevitable

King Charles III has signaled his desire to significantly. modernize the monarchy. He’s already begun taking steps to slim it down. Both he and William are united on helping Commonwealth nations who want to exit find their way out. He and his heir both recognize the need to move forward in a new way. A different way.  I believe he will still maintain some of its important traditional, historical elements. Because there is a value in history, in ritual.

There are things to think about and to learn from the Queen and her passing. The value of constancy and stability. The role of duty and service in our lives. The bedrock of faith and of love. The ability to weather storms. The lessons of history.

And that’s where I will leave it today.

The Queen is dead. Long live the King.

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9 comments on “Thoughts on the Queen’s death
  1. Lynda Beth Unkeless says:

    I was driving close to where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived one summer in Mill Valley, California when I heard on NPR that The Queen had died.

    Like when I first heard President John Kennedy and Princess Diana had died, that moment in time will forevermore be associated in my memory to a particular place.

    It was the same street I learned that
    my Father had died.

    It was the same street where I first met my beloved partner.

    Life is mysterious!

    I drove on to the restaurant where I had planned to lunch for the first time.

    I sat at the bar and read the menu.

    The third cocktail listed was

    “The Queen’s Gin & Tonic.”

    I kid you not!

    The bartender made me a very generous gin & tonic with a good British gin.

    I raised my glass in honor of her Majesty’s Magnificent and Well-Lived Life!
    I wished her soul a graceful passage…

    Call me corny but doing so I felt united with millions of people also grieving The Queen.

    The next day I began collaging photographs and clippings about The Queen from a special section published by The New York Times.

    “The Queen’s Book” took many hours to make and was a deeply healing act.

    The writer Caroline Myss made a video
    on The Queen’s death, and in it she said, “This is an archetypal passage of cosmic magnitude. This is truly a most rare time.”

    I posted Myss’ quote on my Instagram page underneath a photo of the beautiful double rainbow that appeared in the sky over Buckingham Palace as people gathered to grieve.

    Another Mystery in a deeply cosmic time!

  2. She was a class act and will be deeply missed.

  3. Alana says:

    When the Queen died, I was in shock for a few minutes, despite that fact that it was expected – just, not on that day. I was probably about a month away from being conceived when she became Queen. A week before her death, I took a book by Tina Brown out of the library. Like so many in the British aisles, she was the only Queen they ever knew, as reliable as the sun rising each morning. I think there are going to be major changes under Charles III. I’ve only read a little of it and I may return it for now, because I’m seeing history before my eyes.

  4. Pennie says:

    I agree, royal fan or no, this is first and foremost a loss to the family.

  5. Diane says:

    I can’t think of anyone who has so completely devoted their lives to service and, for that alone, I would salute my queen. She has been a constant in an ever-changing landscape. I miss her. I pray for my king.
    Beautifully done, Carol!

  6. Thoughtful and engaging piece. I think the queen was completely dedicated to serving her country, and I think she did that with grace, fortitude under fire, and good humor. She epitomized the word “duty;” she was one of a kind.

  7. Laurie Stone says:

    I agree, whatever your views, this is not the time to be nasty about the monarchy. Let everyone send her off in peace. God bless our new King.

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