On the day of the State funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II we remember with both sadness and gratitude the life of our late Queen. Her Majesty was not only an exceptional person of our time, but among the greats of history.
Very few people make a promise at the age of 21 and keeps that promise for 75 years. But the promise Her Majesty made at 21 was no ordinary promise.
“I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong”
Before continuing we pause momentarily to note that this promise was not without a caveat.
“But I shall not have strength to carry out this resolution alone unless you join in it with me, as I now invite you to do: I know that your support will be unfailingly given. God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it.”
On reflecting upon these closing words of the broadcast made from Cape Town, we cannot but be mindful of the unmistakable echo in the words Her Majesty used to describe Prince Philip.
“(H)e has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I and his whole family, in this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know,”Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth speaking about Prince Philip.
Her Majesty’s request for “unfailingly given” support was supplied “all these years” by Prince Philip. And with just sixteen months between the passing of Prince Philip and Her Majesty, the words, “I shall not have strength to carry out this resolution alone” seem prophetic. We believe it is fitting to acknowledge Prince Philip’s role, as indeed Her Majesty did.
Her Majesty’s promise at 21 was indeed no ordinary promise. It was a promise of such magnitude and so onerous that Her Majesty’s fulfilment of that promise is literally beyond remarkable, and were it not a defining feature of Her Majesty’s life, it would be difficult to believe such a promise could be kept for 75 years: it is a testament to the fortitude, commitment and sense of duty of Her Majesty. This dedication to the nation and beyond earned the respect, admiration and even love of Her subjects – we need look no further than the miles long queue to pay respects as Her Majesty was lying in State in Westminster Hall, with a peak waiting time of 24 hours.
It is no surprise to us that Britain’s Chinese community is mourning the loss of Her Majesty. the Chinese in Britain Forum, lead body of the Ensuring We Remember Campaign, sent a congratulatory message to Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of Her Majesty’s ninetieth birthday.
The Queen’s reign has been a true blessing to the nation… We celebrate Her Majesty’s glorious reign; commit ourselves to continuing to be Her Majesty’s loyal subjects; to be positive contributors to national life; and to strive for an inclusive and harmonious society.Excerpt from CiBF congratulatory letter to Her Majesty on the occasion of her ninetieth birthday.
On Her Majesty’s passing, the Chinese Information and Advice Centre was one of two London Chinatown organisations that opened books of condolences, reporting that over 4,000 people have signed the book.
We received a letter from Buckingham Palace at the instruction of Her Majesty expressing interest in the proposed memorial .
The Queen is second to none in her admiration for those who put their lives at risk in the service of this country and for the loved ones they leave at home, and was deeply touched you should share your feelings with her.Letter from Buckingham Palace to the Campaign dated 1st March 2018.
It demonstrates how Her Majesty’s promise covered all communities, rising above fad or fashion, party or politics. Despite misgivings expressed by some, Her Majesty hosted a State banquet for the visiting President of China, Xi Jinping. It is, in our view, inexcusable that Parliamentarians politicised Her Majesty’s passing by requesting a delegation from the Chinese Embassy be refused entrance to Westminster Hall (which is on the Parliamentary Estate) to pay their respects . It is hard to imagine a more inappropriate act, the antithesis of the example Her Majesty set throughout her 75 glorious years as Queen.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry’s comments in response to not being invited to attend Her Majesty’s funeral is telling.
“We view this British attempt to use a national tragedy that has touched the hearts of millions of people around the world for geopolitical purposes to settle scores with our country during the days of mourning as profoundly immoral,”Russian Foreign Ministry
Can there be any doubt that Her Majesty would not want her passing to be politicised? As unpopular as it may be to agree with anything Russian at the moment, their description of the politicising the Queens death as “blasphemous” to the Queen’s memory is hard to argue against. But perhaps this is yet more proof, as though any were needed, of the exceptional character of Her Majesty, of how the sense of duty came before political expression, and by comparison our political elite cannot compare.
The world seems to be in a state of flux at the moment, possibly entering a new era, the Queen’s passing certainly marks the end of one. We echo the thoughts of so many millions when we express heartfelt thanks for the selfless life of our late Queen, without whom there can be little doubt that the world, our nations and our lives would have been much the poorer.
Reunited with beloved husband Prince Philip, may Her Majesty rest in peace.