I must admit to not watching the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It isn’t that I wasn’t interested.
A state funeral says a lot about the nation and the individual, and the British know how to do it right. I thought though that watching it would be depressing. I think I was right.
Elizabeth, with her 70-year reign was more than just a monarch, a representative of an institution that many feel is irrelevant today. She embodied, as so many have said, duty and service, concepts that are today more ignored than practiced. Her reign bridged two centuries, indeed two millennia, and for many she was a reassuring constant in a chaotic world. She always seemed to do what was right.
The new King, Charles III is still somewhat of an unknown quantity at this point. Which is strange for someone who is 73. But I’m willing to put aside my preconceptions and give him a chance to fill his mother’s shoes.
While I didn’t watch the funeral coverage, I did read the text of the eulogy delivered by Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. In just a few words he captured Elizabeth’s life and legacy, and painted a picture of a woman of strong Christian faith. (He also mentioned Charles as having a similar faith, which I must admit surprised me. I hope he is right.)
What perhaps touched me most though was taking a trip to the United States this past weekend. Starting at US Customs and everywhere we went, flags were at half mast to remember and honor Elizabeth II. You know we’ve come a long way since 1776 when Americans mourn the death of a British monarch.
Life continues, even after the death of a loved one. Eventually we will get used to the idea of King Charles III. I am sure in many ways he is very different from his mother, though maybe not – he is after all a child of the still somewhat conservative 1950s.
If he has inherited her love for people, her desire for service and her dedication to duty, underpinned by a strong Christian faith, his reign will be well remembered.