Yesterday was the sixty-fifth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. By all reports, she spent it quietly at Sandringham, in Norfolk, where her father, the King died 65 years ago. She is now the longest reigning monarch in British History. And the only one to have parachuted into the Olympics!
Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith wrote about it in the Catholic Herald. He makes a couple of points, I want to emphasize.
The second thing about the Queen that comes to mind is her unshowy devotion to duty. It really is not about her at all, but about the nation, and of course, the Commonwealth. She serves us, not the other way around. In 65 years she has never failed in her duty. This makes her not simply the most remarkable and admirable woman in the country, but perhaps in the world. Her style is in marked contrast to the celebrity culture that is all around us.
How rare that is amongst our people these days. To stick to your duty all your life, even as a quite young woman in the Second World War we could see that. In fact, for her, it is a family trait evident in both of her parents throughout their lives. We try, she flat did it. And a most difficult duty as well. She has done, no that is incorrect, she is doing it admirably. And that is instructive. Her job is one that pretty much denies her any privacy, or even a chance to ever do as she pleases, and yet she has serenely done that duty for sixty-five years, ever since a girl in a Kenyan tree became Queen of England (and all the rest). Not least amongst those titles: “Defender of the Faith”.
Fourthly, and perhaps the most important of all, as is clear to anyone who has been listening to her Christmas broadcasts over the years, the Queen is a Christian. She is a particular type of Christian, a Low Church Anglican, of the sort who makes little outward show of her faith. But it is certainly there, and it has sustained her over these 65 years. The way she has acted over the last six-and-a-half decades is a tribute to that faith.
Important? Yes. And perhaps it is the most remarkable of all. The queen has kept her faith (and the faith) for her entire reign while so-called progress has stormed about her, and many of her storm-tossed subjects have had theirs rocked, and sometimes lost. In fact, she is on her fifth Archbishop of Canterbury, and Eisenhower had just become the US president when she became Queen.
It’s been at best a turbulent 65 years, and nobody has shown us better what we can be, should be, and yes, must be, if we are to continue what we started those long years ago at the court of Alfred the Great of Wessex, and yes, in Philadelphia City some 241 years ago, as well. For we Yanks too, find in her a steadying point, one who has been there and done that, although probably not so vulgar as to have bought the T-shirt. Indeed the champion of Western Civilization, itself.
God Save the Queen
[Crosssposted from Nebraskaenergyobserver]