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A Prayer for the late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Gracious God we give thanks for the life of your servant Queen Elizabeth for her faith and her dedictaion to duty. Bless our nation as we mourn her death and may her example continue to inspire us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I was asked by a customer in Ukraine “Dare I asked why she was so loved?” I think it’s a fair question and one that is difficult to answer. In my mind she was and remains the culmination of a thousand years of History. My customer in Ukraine will have little idea of how interwoven European History is and how changes in events could have made things hugely different. 950 years ago at the start of 1066 Edith of Wessex was Queen. She processed around London at the side of King Harold at the start of a 9 month rule, cut tragically short at the battle of Hastings. There was another woman in the 1066 story who very few of us have heard of – Elizaveta of Kiev Ukraine! She was the wife of Harald Hardrada and therefore Queen of Norway. She was in Orkney in 1066 when Harald invaded the North with 300 ships. It was only through a miracle of misfortune and heroism that Hardrada, against the odds was defeated by Harold of Wessex at Stamford bridge near York and so close to the John King factory in Yorkshire. If he had not been defeated he may well have become King of England and Elizaveta would have become Queen. The irony is not missed. How different would British history had been if our heritage was indeed Norse and not Norman.
Born on 21st April 1926 Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was the much loved first loved Daughter of Prince Albert and Elizabeth Bowes –Lyon the Duke and Duchess of York. Her Grandfather was King George V and his heir was her Uncle David who was Crowned Edward V111. Elizabeth should have been a minor Royal pursuing the life she loved with her horses and dogs and a few minor Royal duties. The history is well known and when Edward abdicated to marry an American divorcee – Wallis Simpson suddenly Elizabeth life was turned upside down. At 10 years old her father became King George V1 and she as eldest daughter heir to the throne. Elizabeth gradually grew to recognise her responsibilities and broadcasting from South Africa on her 21st birthday she said that:
“My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be dedicated to your service and the service of our great imperial family “
Queen Elizabeth when she was crowned on 2 June 1953 clearly understood her responsibilities to her nation and to the fascinating historical and human process that followed and brought her to that place. Her commitment to fulfilling that solemn oath continued relentlessly until she was lost to the Nation and the World on 9 September 2022 at the age of 96 and after 70 years on the throne.
So in considering the question “why she was so loved“ I realise it is quite a difficult question to answer. Although we grieve as a nation our emotions are possibly quite individual. My personal opinion is that as we witness a general decline in the more important human characteristics she was steadfast in conducting herself in a faultless manner. She was dignified. Dignity is not perhaps a quality on which we place great credit these days, but in our Queen we had a visceral pull to all it means. She remained graceful, dutiful, good humoured and unruffled throughout her reign. She operated in public as someone greater than herself and in an age of “self” that is quite a remarkable achievement. First and foremost our Queen will remain in our British souls as someone who we both admire and love. Above all she makes us proud as a Nation and makes us different from all other Nations.
There is no doubt that our Queen has been the most consistent element of our lives and without doubt the leading Woman of the 20th Century and I expect in time it will be acknowledged the 21st Century although we are a little over 20% into it.
The depth of our Queen Elizabeth’s faith is well known to us and it guided her through some obvious challenges in her life. At a recent work event that came immediately after the announcement of her death it seemed appropriate for me to share a simple prayer with our employees in acknowledgment of that faith. I am pleased to take this opportunity to share this with all our friends, customers and supporters: