Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
As I am sure you are all aware, our Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday at the age of 96.
Queen Elizabeth was wonderful in every respect and an excellent example to everyone. She was a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother. As I reflect I am so glad that we had a tea party just before half term on the Headmaster’s lawn in May to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee which meant that she had been Queen for 70 years. Those of you who were here last year will remember that.
When I heard the news I became incredibly sad as I felt part of my comfort blanket has been taken. My heart felt heavy. When you look at this logically, the Queen was very old, she was 96 years old which is a great age and yet I felt, and indeed still feel, so incredibly sad. This is because of the huge respect I had for her as mother of this great nation. And I am just one person. There are 70 million people in this country and so millions and millions more feel exactly the same way. Not just millions and millions in this country but countless millions all over the world.
There is a group of countries called the Commonwealth, which is an association of 56 countries, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire. This means that there are literally billions of people mourning the loss of Queen Elizabeth. Therefore the death of Queen Elizabeth is a big deal, in fact it is beyond big, it is massive and profound. We all probably underestimate just how big a deal it is.
Queen Elizabeth was a great example of all that is best in this world. It was never the intention that her dad King George VI become King. He only became King because his brother Edward VIII decided that he no longer wanted to remain king because he wanted to marry a divorced lady and at that time royalty were not allowed to marry divorced people. This is because the King was Head of the Church of England and, back then, divorce was not allowed in the Church of England.
Elizabeth was 10 years old when her dad became King and her life changed overnight because as the elder of two sisters (her younger sister was called Margaret) she would succeed her father as monarch.As a child Elizabeth was known to her family as Lilibet. This was the same name that Prince Harry, the Queen’s grandson called his daughter when she was born last year.
On February 6, 1952, after a long illness, her father King George VI died in his sleep. Princess Elizabeth as she was then was the older of the King’s two daughters and therefore next in line to succeed him. She was on a visit to Kenya when her dad died and she was officially crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953. The coronation was held more than one year later after the King’s death because back then there was a tradition of allowing people an appropriate length of time to pass before holding such any type of celebration. King Charles will also have a coronation sometime in the near future.
Elizabeth married one of her distant cousins, a man called Philip Mountbatten. Her husband became known as the Duke of Edinburgh and they had 4 children Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
Queen Elizabeth was 25 years old when she became Queen.The Queen’s husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, died last year at the age of 99.
Her eldest child Prince Charles now (and by now I mean immediately) becomes King. Prince Charles is 73 years old and will be known as King Charles III. He is 48 years older than his mother was when she became Queen. Charles could have chosen from any of his four forenames names which are – Charles Philip Arthur George.
He is not the only one who faces a change of title. Although he is now heir to the throne, Prince William will not automatically become Prince of Wales – that will have to be conferred on him by his father. He has inherited his father’s title of Duke of Cornwall – William and his wife Kate are now titled Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge.
There is also a new title for Charles’ wife, Camilla, who becomes the Queen Consort – consort is the term used for the wife of a King.
Queen Elizabeth worked incredibly hard at her royal duties and became a very popular and hugely respected figure around the world. She was the first British Monarch ever to be on the throne for 70 years.
A lot of change has happened in the UK in the last 70 years but the Queen has been a constant throughout. She has been a tower of strength in good times and in bad.
I do not believe that any of us here today will ever see her like again. People the world over have been saying how highly they think of her.
The Queen steered the monarchy through turbulent times, as Britain’s Empire ended and its place in the world fundamentally changed.
She is survived by her four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was appointed by the Queen three days ago, described her as “the rock upon which modern Britain was built”.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote a lengthy and lovely tribute, some of which can be found below:
“As is so natural with human beings, it is only when we face the reality of our loss that we truly understand what has gone. It is only really now that we grasp how much she meant for us, how much she did for us, how much she loved us. As we think of the void she leaves, we understand the vital role she played, selflessly and calmly embodying the continuity and unity of our country. We think of her deep wisdom, and historic understanding, and her seemingly inexhaustible but understated sense of duty. Relentless though her diary must have felt, she never once let it show, and to tens of thousands of events – great and small – she brought her smile and her warmth and her gentle humour – and for an unrivalled 70 years she spread that magic around her kingdom. This is our country’s saddest day because she had a unique and simple power to make us happy. That is why we loved her. That is why we grieve for Elizabeth the Great, the longest serving and in many ways the finest monarch in our history.”
The UK has indeed been most fortunate to have had such a brilliant Queen for 70 years. Most people can do a good job for a set period of time; Queen Elizabeth did a brilliant job for 70 years. That was simply super human.
Our loyalty will of course transfer to King Charles but now we must mourn and pay our respects to the most wonderful monarch the world has ever known.
The following poem was sent to me which I would like to share with you:
Pupils pictured in Assembly this morning: