The Queen is dead, long live the love

I’ve never felt anything like this. I’ve never seen anything like this. So much love for a woman most of us have never met.

A public, especially political, figure can be liked, respected, appreciated, worshipped even. Yet in my rather long lifetime I’ve never seen one who could be loved. Except her.

For love, in any other than the Christian sense, is too intimate a feeling to spread around widely. It’s something we reserve for the family, the closest of friends and, of course, God.

What do we love them for? It doesn’t matter. We just do. Because they just are.

How did the head of a state foreign to most people of the world earn such unquestioning, self-evident, matter-of-fact love even beyond her native shores? I don’t know. But I do know she did.

My brother-in-law and his wife are in the South of France now. Strangers – Frenchmen! – are approaching them in the street to say how deeply sorry they are. Our French and American friends have rung or written to us, each word touched with genuine sadness.

None of them have any attachment to the institution of monarchy, not self-admittedly at any rate, and some of them have a historical axe to grind with the British monarchy in particular. Come to think of it, I even know a few misguided Britons who share those sentiments.

But here’s the amazing thing. Many people may have a high regard for an office, but not necessarily for its current holder. (The Papacy springs to mind, as does the Archbishopric of Canterbury.) But with Her Majesty it was often the other way around. Even inveterate republicans and anti-monarchists loved her personally. And now they are grieving with the rest of us.

Obituaries are talking about her dignity, sense of duty, dedication to public service, fortitude and many other things, each of them true, each of them superlative. Singly, each of them is enough to explain respect, all of them together perhaps even adulation. Yet none of them explains love.

I can’t explain it either. It could be that Her Majesty was so much at one with all her subjects, that we now feel that something of us has died. Or else the Queen has become so synonymous with England that people may think that some of England has died.

All that may be true. But love doesn’t die. It hasn’t. And it won’t.

We’ll never see anything like this again. I don’t know what kind of king Charles III will be, although I have my doubts. But even if he turns out to be a sage monarch, he’ll never be loved as much as Her Majesty. Liked and respected, possibly. Loved, I don’t think so.

Obituarists are saying she was the glue that made the kingdom united, and they fear that without that glue the realm will come unstuck. That’s a legitimate fear, and I share it. But all this is for another day, and not very soon either.

Today is about grief, sorrow, mourning – and love.

Her Majesty Elizabeth II, our beloved sovereign, Requiescat In Pace.

3 thoughts on “The Queen is dead, long live the love”

  1. Everyone I have spoken to here in Queensland is talking lovingly and respectfully about her. Everyone had a memorable story to tell, such as my eldest daughter who wrote to her when she was twelve and was thrilled to get a reply. All teachers were to address the classes at the school where I work of her significance. Federal parliament is suspended for two weeks. She certainly did leave an impression in Australia.

  2. US flags are flying at half-mast. There are some Americans who fully understand and lament the revolution and would have been proud to call Her Majesty our Queen.

  3. One could not hope for an easier end than to be walking and smiling on Tuesday and dead on Thursday.

    God has given one of his least sinful servants an easy end.

    I have no doubt that she is resting in peace.

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