None of us knows what the future holds, and the little girl growing up in her family home in Piccadilly can have had no idea what lay ahead, and the challenges she would have to face. But when destiny called, without hesitation – and whatever her qualms – she stepped up to the mark. “I declare before you all”, she said, “that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong” (https://www.royal.uk/21st-birthday-speech-21-april-1947).
Was she perfect? Did she never make mistakes? Of course she wasn’t, and yes, she did. But throughout her long life she unfailingly upheld that pledge, as best she could, putting duty before all else, and serving both God and her people with fortitude, commitment, and constancy.
Inevitably, she will have had her demons to fight and trials to face. But in the main we, the people, did not know those battles, or the cost such unflagging dedication must have exacted. Instead, she was just “our Queen”. A figurehead and rock who was always there, steady, strong … holding course.
A life of service. A life well lived.
In that same spirit, may we now be equal to whatever lies ahead. We pray blessing, wisdom and strength for the new King, as he too now steps up to the mark. May he know the great Pilot who stands every ready at his side to steer the ship. May he keep faith.
Thank you, Ma’am. We shall miss you.