God save the Queen
For the majority of all humans alive on planet Earth for the entirety of their lives Elizabeth II has been queen.
Harry Truman was president when 25-year old Elizabeth learned of the death of her father, George VI. Since that moment in 1952, Elizabeth has asked 15 prime ministers to form a government in her name. She has seen 14 U.S. presidencies and six Roman Catholic papacies.
Prior to Elizabeth’s 16th birthday, she had little thought of ever being queen. But for the much frowned upon desire of her uncle, King Edward VIII, to marry a divorced American commoner named Wallis Simpson, and his resulting abdication of the throne less than a year after his ascent, Elizabeth’s father would never have been king. Consequently, Elizabeth would never have been queen.
The world would have been the poorer.
Kings, queens, premieres, prime ministers and presidents are all human. They bring with them to their offices all of the sinfulness, foibles and imperfections that are an inescapable part of being human.
The latter part of the 20th century and all the 21st century have served to numb us to the excesses of the leadership and ruling classes. We have come to all but expect the philandering, self-dealing and outright corruption that too often overshadows what good our leaders might be doing while holding office.
Which is what makes the reign of Queen Elizabeth so remarkable.
For seven decades Elizabeth executed the duties of her office with uncommon grace and dignity. For seven decades, the people of the United Kingdom never had to worry about financial impropriety or improper self-dealing. For most of the past 20 years, Elizabeth has managed to actually reduce the cost to the British people for maintaining and protecting the royal household. There are many anecdotes of Her Majesty walking through Buckingham Palace personally turning off lights.
I have lost count of the number of times I have visited London. Every time I’m there I am reminded of just how much we inherited from England that is good. From English common law that informs our present-day legal system to our table manners to the very language that we speak (which is, perhaps, our greatest inheritance), absent our English heritage, it is doubtful that the United States would have ever become the wealthiest, most powerful nation on Earth. And it equally doubtful that in the absence of that inheritance, such a nation would have been so restrained in the use of that power and so magnanimous in its stewardship of that wealth.
For those reasons and more, every time I am in the U.K. I say to myself, “There must always be an England.”
For my entire life there has been Queen Elizabeth. The enormity of her title and the length of her reign imposed upon her an enormous burden – a burden that she bore with enormous good grace.
I pray that she is at last unburdened and enjoying the restful peace that she deserves.
God save the Queen.
Very well said Mr. Gleiser. When I think of the United Kingdom, it is with fondness as they have become the greatest friend and ally of the United States and the American People. I believe in my heart that Queen Elizabeth is now in Heaven, and with joy, as she is with Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ forever more.
Thank you, Paul, for a fitting tribute to Queen Elizabeth. We here in the United States are not into the Royal thing, but it serves the English very well. We may well never see the like of this queen again.
It is hard to believe that she has been Queen ALL my life. It is sad to think that there is no one to fill her shoes with the Grace and Dignity with which she carried herself. May Queen Elizabeth rest in peace…she deserves it!
I loved that commentary!! Bravo!!
What I like most about you Mr. Gleiser is your command of the English language and your use of it in making profound comments on our lives. You artfully captured the Queen, although Elizabeth’s wartime activity, driving and maintaining trucks tells me where she learned the fine art of doing the right thing. Turning off lights simply because they need to be turned off. Very Lincolnesque. WDE
You are very kind. Thank you for taking the time to read my piece and offer your comment.
I remember during the Reagan years when we bombed the Libyans for a terrorist attack where innocent Americans lost their lives. I believe it took place at an Italian disco. After we did this the US was widely denounced in the United Nations. The only nations that stood with us at that time were Israel, Canada, and of course Great Britain. God bless Queen Elizabeth. Long live King Charles III.
King Charles is a card carrying member of the World Economic Forum; so don’t count those British Chickens before they hatch. He may yet turn out to be the Green King of England.