The shock and the grief on hearing of Queen Elizabeth’s death has rippled through the country and around the world. Leaders have responded with warm appreciation of her as a person and of her work. US President Joe Biden said she was ‘more than a monarch – she defined an era.” He added that she had deepened the bedrock of the Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States. She helped make our relationship special.’ In a message of condolence to King Charles, Vladimir Putin said, ‘”The most important events in the recent history of the United Kingdom are inextricably linked with the name of Her Majesty.’
In her lifetime the Queen met many men and women in positions of power. No-one will ever fully know the extent of her influence on them and the decisions they made. As a committed Christian she was a temple of the Holy Spirit [i] and He would work through her in ways unseen, as He does through us all – but she had a unique position in power.
She made no attempt to hide her faith, or dumb it down to make it palatable to people who might be opposed to it. That it didn’t cause howls of outrage from various vociferous opponents was because of the respect and love she was held in.
On BBC radio this morning the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, head of the Church of England said that many people around the UK and the world will feel that “part of our lives we’ve taken for granted as being permanent is no longer there”.
Perhaps that explains how the Queen’s death has affected us personally, almost as if we’ve lost someone from our own families. Other significant people have died in my lifetime, but I haven’t felt that sense of loss before of someone dying and taking part of my normal life with them.
I’ve always felt a sense of affinity with Queen Elizabeth, despite the huge contrast in our positions in life. For a start, we shared the same height, 5 ft 4”, and we both had three boys and a girl. I felt her angst with their divorces and difficulties. But more than that, in a very real sense, she is family. She is part of the family in Christ that has invisible, but powerful heart-links. It’s such a blessing to know that this precious Queen who wore a crown on earth, is now wearing the Crown of Life. [ii] And that she will be part of the ‘vast congregation’ we will join ourselves one day.
[i] (1 Corinthians 6:19)