Like many of us, I got up early this morning to watch Queen Elizabeth’s funeral. It was a respectful moment I considered not to be missed. For the majority of living people, she has always been The Queen.
One of Elizabeth’s Crown rested on her casket, along with the scepter, a symbol of authority and the orb, symbol of the Church of England, both which will be passed to Charles. It was a lovely and respectful, religious service, more openly Christian than the majority of state funerals, regardless of the country. It was said afterwards that was what Elizabeth wanted. She was never afraid to differ from the status quo…instead, she did what she thought was right and her duty, to God and to her country.
When I was a child in the 60’s and early 70’s, I remember being surprised that Queen Elizabeth was approximately my mother’s age, as she dressed more like a grandmother. She usually wore a tailored dress or suit, with matching hat, coat and gloves, like most ladies in their “Sunday Best,” but Queen Elizabeth wore pastels or bright colors, never navy or grey like my aunt who worked in an office, and never any of the A-line dresses teachers and mothers were wearing, and certainly never any pants! The Queen Mother dressed similarly to Elizabeth, but in subdued colors, and she always looked very tiny. I learned a few years ago that Elizabeth insisted on bright colors so, in spite of her petite frame, she would be seen. No middle-aged beige pantsuits for the Queen!
Everyone makes mistakes; mistakes are part of our humanity. The tragedy of Princess Diana was a time many of us will never forget, and we had a hard time forgiving Queen Elizabeth, Charles and Camilla. Watching The Crown on Netflix has helped me to understand a bit more of how it all happened. For us high school and college girls who were her age, “Lady Di” became our princess. We copied Princess Diana in our prom dresses, wedding gowns and daywear. Diana’s kindness to those who were considered “less than” was a lesson to all. Maturity and time have helped us forgive “the older royals” and we’ve watched changes in the royal family as they have evolved from this tragedy.
The most poignant parts of the funeral, to me, was the playing of God Save the Queen, and the diligent and difficult shoulder-bearing of the coffin, so arduous compared to the largely ceremonial duty of American pallbearers. All of the music was wonderful, including a lovely choral piece composed especially for this service, sung by men and young boys, so different from the usual American choirs which often have more women than men. Mournful bagpipe notes called out at the end of the service, starting the recessional, then outdoors, as all were reassembled, a reprise of God Save the Queen, played for the last time, at least in that place. Soon it will change to God Save the King, for the first time in over seventy years.
May Queen Elizabeth rest in peace and God bless King Charles III.