Princess Elizabeth made her first public speech during World War II. She was fourteen and spoke on the Children’s Hour radio broadcast on October 13, 1940. “Thousands of you in this country have had to leave your homes and be separated from your fathers and mothers. My sister Margaret Rose and I feel so much for you as we know from experience what it means to be away from those we love most of all. To you, living in new surroundings, we send a message of true sympathy and at the same time we would like to thank the kind people who have welcomed you to their homes in the country.” She closed by saying, “We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well; for God will care for us and give us victory and peace. And when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.” That sense of compassion and duty characterized her whole life.
Wednesday morning, February 6, 1952, I got up and the radio was playing solemn, stately, orchestral music. That was all we could get on any radio station. The eight o’clock news told us why – King George VI had died and his oldest daughter was now Queen Elizabeth II. At school that morning we lined up at nine o’clock, but instead of singing God Save the King, we sang God Save the Queen. I was nine years old and in Grade Five. I am eighty now and Elizabeth was queen almost my entire life, until yesterday.
School children in Canada don’t sing God Save the Queen anymore; I wonder if they even sing O Canada very often. The fact that Canada, and many other countries, acknowledged Queen Elizabeth to be the head of state does not mean that we are subject to England. Each country acknowledges the same monarch, but have no authority to meddle in the affairs of each others government.
There is a prayer in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer that illustrates the usefulness of the monarchy:
Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness, we humbly beseech thee to bless our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth, the Parliaments of the Commonwealth, and all who are set in authority under her; that they may order all things in wisdom. righteousness, and peace, to the honour of thy holy Name, and the good of they Church and people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
People will have differing opinions about the current political hue of the government of their land, some may feel strongly that the party in power is leading the country astray. Nevertheless, we are to always pray for the rulers of our land. I like the phrase “and all who are set in authority under her,” it takes our prayers out of the political sphere. In praying for our government, we are not asking for a blessing on their political ideology, but for the well being of all the people of the land.
In her first Christmas message as queen, in 1952, Elizabeth spoke of her coming coronation and asked: “Pray for me… that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.”
In December 2000 during her Christmas Day speech, she said: “For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.”
In here 2002 Christmas message she said: “I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God…I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.”
In 2011 she said: “Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.”
On Tuesday of this week she received Boris Johnson at her estate at Balmoral, Scotland, to accept his resignation as Prime Minister. Shortly afterwards she received a visit from Liz Truss and appointed her the new Prime Minister. These were merely matters of protocol, the decisions had been made earlier, but those visits to the queen made them official.
On Wednesday, she wrote a message for the people of the James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan who three days earlier had suffered the trauma of eleven murders. “I would like to extend my condolences to those who have lost loved ones in the attack that occurred this past weekend in Saskatchewan. My thoughts and prayers are with those recovering from injuries, and grieving such horrific losses. I mourn with all Canadians at this tragic time.”
That was her last public statement. The next day she died.
As irrelevant as the monarchy may be to the administration of government, Queen Elizabeth provided an example of dignity, warmth, faith and uprightness for over 70 years.