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The Queen and I

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Today, the world notes the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. If you live in the UK and engage with any kind of live media, you can hardly have missed it. Even Jazz FM, which I switched to in the car, had switched a more sombre playlist and insisted on reminding everyone why every fifteen minutes or so (sidenote: I loved the abstract, expressive qualities of Morning Moon by Fergus McCreadie which came on near the end of the drive).

I never met the Queen. I’m not sure I even saw her in person – possibly once when my Grandpa took me to watch what I think might have been Trooping of the Colour, but that would have been a far off glimpse at best. The nearest I got was when I painted her portrait and was rewarded with a silver-liveried bus… but that was a small toy for winning the street competition during Silver Jubilee celebrations. As I recall, the portrait started off some distance from the realist school and was even further away once wet weather had played with the poster paints!

Frantic work will be done over the next few days as various communities (including churches) gear up to respond appropriately to this bereavement. Earlier this year, we marked the Platinum Jubilee with various events which had been long in the planning. Although official plans for the death of the monarch were in place and are being revealed, there is a much quicker turnaround required at this time.

Without getting drawn into musings on monarchism versus republicanism, I think it is entirely appropriate for Christians to pray for the Royal family, particularly the new monarch, Charles III, and to use their spaces and experience to create room for those in the national community who want a place to reflect and mourn at this time. All I would ask, in my small voice, is that (unlike today’s political and media outpourings) we don’t forget that Elizabeth Windsor is not the only person to have died today and this is far from the greatest challenge facing either our nation or others.

I think that consideration reflects the best of what Her late Majesty expressed in many of those Christmas messages and other addresses to the nation. One day, perhaps I’ll see her again in a crowd and we’ll all have crowns to cast before Jesus, the King of kings.

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