Queen Elizabeth II burial: End of an era

Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British monarch was buried at Windsor Castle on September 19, 2022 after 70 years on the throne.

 Her burial marks the end of an era for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

The Queen, who was the head of the Commonwealth, died on September 8 at  Balmoral in Scotland.

She was 96.

Soon after the announcement of her death, tributes poured in from world leaders.

The new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, said,”We  are all devastated. The death of Her Majesty, the Queen, is a huge shock to the nation and the rest of the world.”

“Queen Elizabeth II was a rock on which modern Britain was built,” Truss added.

The Queen spoke fluent French.

Because of her mastery of the French language, she was loved in France.

In his message of condolences, French President Emmanuel Macron eulogised the Queen for “her courage to uphold the values of freedom and tenacity.”

He said.” With her passing, we all feel an emptiness. We will miss her so deeply.”

Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland said, “Her Majesty loved the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth loved her, During her reign, she travelled more than any monarch in history, visiting every part of our family of nations.

“The growth and vibrancy of our modern Commonwealth is a credit to her and testament to her dedication, wisdom and leadership.”

The secretary-general of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres said “As the United Kingdom’s longest-lived and longest-reigning Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II was widely admired for her grace, dignity, and dedication around the world.

“She was a reassuring presence throughout decades of sweeping change, including the decolonsation of Africa and Asia and evolution of the Commonwealth.”

Former Botswana President, Ian Khama, whose mother Lady Ruth Khama was a Briitish national, also mourned the passing of the Queen. He said, “I express my condolences to members of the royal family and the British people.

“Prayers and thoughts are with you during this very sad time over the unexpected passing of Her Majesty, the Queen”

Khama added that the Queen had held a dominant position in the world.

She was crowned Queen in 1953, presiding over her country and the British Empire.

Under her reign, the British Empire disintegrated as the colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean became independent one by one.

She was very much respected in her country and in the Commonwealth.

She led her country and the Commonwealth with grace and panache, guided by a sense of duty and responsibility. She will also be remembered for her sartorial elegance.

Whenever Queen Elizabeth II  visited former  British  colonies in Africa, the Caribbean, communities benefited.Prior to her arrival, roads in the host countries would be repaired, buildings spruced up and garbage collected.

Queen Elizabeth II had a charismatic personality such that young and old people wanted to be associated with her.

The late Malawian President, Kamuzu Banda, claimed the dubious honour of having been one of  the first African presidents to do ballroom  dancing with the Queen, but he never provided the evidence for that. Such was the extent to which the British monarch was revered.

Even the self-styled Conqueror of the British Empire, Idi Amin of Uganda, couldn’t resist the Queen’s charm. He once told the Queen that he wanted to spend a night with her.

In terms of UK politics, Queen Elizabeth II set the tone for reconciliation when she visited  Northern Ireland in 2011. During that trip, she did the unthinkable — she shook hands with the leaders of Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

As far as important political issues were concerned, the Queen kept her views a closely-guarded secret.

On the contentious issue of Brexit, Buckingham palace sources suggested that Her Majesty was opposed to Brexit, fearing that it would diminish Britain’s influence and gravitas in Europe.

 If that was indeed her stance, then she has been vindicated because European leaders no longer take Britain seriously.

Matters of the environment were close to the Queen’s heart. She loved nature. She played a role in the production of a documentary titled The Queen’s Green Planet.

In her remarks ahead of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, Queen Elizabeth II  blamed  world leaders for lack of concrete measures to combat climate change. She remarked, “It’s really frustrating when they talk, but they don’t do.”

Queen Elizabeth II  has been succeeded by her son, Charles, as King Charles III.

While the world wonders what kind of Monarch Charles will be, one thing is certain — his mother’s shoes will not be easy for him to fill.

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