Queen Elizabeth II’s death yesterday after 70 years as Great Britain’s monarch represents not only the end of an era but recognition of her selfless service.
If only her personal journals could talk, we would learn what this amazing woman thought about dealing with 15 British prime ministers, 14 U.S. presidents and seven popes. It really does not matter; what does would be her observations about domestic and international affairs.
She was 25 when she became Queen following her father’s death at 56. She had watched as her father dealt so heroically and admirably with the travails of World War II. Her father overcame a severe case of stuttering to serve as a partner with Prime Minister Winston Churchill to rally the British during the German blitz.
Evolving from a person with little formal education, she became a font of knowledge and expertise as prime ministers appeared frequently before her and listened as she asked probing questions and offered advice. Her power was quiet, understated. She died at 96.
Publicly she was neither warm nor convivial. She was polite and reserved. She guarded her emotions. She reasoned that British citizens expected her to be calm and resolute, in control of her emotions.
Now the Queen’s oldest son, King Charles, 73, succeeds her as the King after training since he was three. He will follow Her Royal Majesty, summoning his own personality and perspectives and understanding that his mother was a figure well-loved and well-respected. His path will be difficult.
Farewell, Queen Elizabeth. Thank you for exemplifying absolute devotion to your job and incomparable stability. She cut ribbons and gave out awards in what we all might consider perfunctory, even boring duties. She, however, knew that her British subjects needed to see her and experience her presence.
God Welcome the Queen!
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. After 44 years in Easton, Howard and his wife, Liz, moved in November 2020 to Annapolis, where they live with Toby, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel who has no regal bearing, just a mellow, enticing disposition.