I was born the year after Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, so it’s fair to say she has been ‘with me’ all my life. Like many of us, I have known no other monarch.
The rarity of this situation is worthy of reflection, as is the very notion of royalty in our high-tech age. Are they simply symbolic figures, animated from our past? Or might there be something deeper, something that only shows its inner face at times of unpredictable – but special -significance.
Our politics are ‘rotten’. Corrupt and self-serving, they have been lured far from the ideal of universal representation that they were designed to deliver to all of us. The simple statistic that 90% of the wealth belongs to 10% of the population speaks for itself, regardless of the platitudes from those in the entitled cluster.
Against this decline, we might expect the importance of the Queen to be diminished; and she might well have agreed, as she wrestled with a sniping press on an almost constant basis, not to mention the undercurrent of ‘republicanism’ that would sweep away the very idea of a ‘royal’ having any importance in our modern world.
And yet, this remarkable woman, small in stature, yet tall in resolve, stayed true, through the seventy years of her reign, to the service of the country and the people she loved.
In life, we might have found her remote. In death, she showed us how a life lived in constant resolve and principle releases at its end an energy that causes us all to think we may have been dreaming; that there is in the British soul – and those across the world who still view her in the same way – a nobility that has nothing to do with physical kings and queens, yet is epitomised by this very special one.
And in that we perhaps see the paradox: that there is something deeply significant about the idea of Queen, King, Prince and Princess that is above the human vessel that contains it.
These deeply ancient roles are holders of intent and true nobility – a nobility that we all share in potential.
When a great one like Elizabeth II leaves us, the scales drop, briefly, from our eyes. When the public respect and grief becomes the vessel; dare I say the grail of her life, distilled into a few short days, it gives us time to pause and not only say thank you, but to whisper,
©Stephen Tanham 2022
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.