As a mark of respect, PH will fall silent today for the funeral service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
By PH Staff / Monday, 19 September 2022
PH is not accustomed to stopping. For us, bank holidays are just another day of the week, and Christmas merely an excuse to reflect on our favourite car of the preceding year. But today, clearly, is not just another bank holiday. Whether or not HM Queen Elizabeth II meant anything to you personally or politically or even culturally, it cannot be argued that she occupied a fundamental position in this nation’s fabric. The nation, of course, will go on without her. But it is surely fitting that we pause on the day of her funeral to collectively consider her legacy and pay tribute to a life defined by duty.
Winston Churchill, in closing his eulogy to her father, King George VI, noted: “Famous have been the reigns of our queens. Some of the greatest periods in our history have unfolded under their sceptre. Now that we have the second Queen Elizabeth, also ascending the Throne in her twenty-sixth year, our thoughts are carried back nearly four hundred years to the magnificent figure who presided over and, in many ways, embodied and inspired the grandeur and genius of the Elizabethan age.”
The extent to which Elizabeth Windsor came to embody her own extraordinary age is perhaps debatable. She ruled for so long – a quarter century longer than Elizabeth I – that it is troublesome to characterise it as a recognisable age at all. And yet her gift for equanimity and heartfelt consideration for others provided not just an example worthy of a figurehead, but also a footing for the national conscience as it emerged from the postwar years and hurried toward a new century. Unlike her namesake, it was not her job to wield actual power, yet she exemplified a kind of leadership beyond the remit or capacity of most elected officials, and in its sunniness, poise, compassion and steadfastness, her people were invited to see the best of themselves. Many if not most, did.
Naturally, it was also a position of supreme privilege, but that fact does not undermine nor outweigh the burden placed upon a twenty-six-year-old, nor alleviate the obligation of a lifetime. Her solemn duty to country was considered sacred from its first moment, and that’s the way she carried it for the next seventy years. Impossibly few people, we’d humbly argue, have so obviously earned a few hours of respectful contemplation – and two full minutes of silence in the forums.
A famous reign, indeed. We’ll be back tomorrow.
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