The Closest I Got To Queen Elizabeth
I never met Queen Elizabeth. I never even saw her on any of my visits to London. But I did go to her house, well, one of them — Buckingham Palace.
My friend Christi and I went on a quick trip to London back in 2016. We attended a Vintage Garden Party at Highclere Castle, about an hour away by train. We stayed in London and spent a couple of days touring our favorite city. One of the highlights was a visit to Buckingham Palace. It was open to the public while the Queen was at Balmoral.
The palace was spectacular — lots of red and gold. One of the most enjoyable things about the visit was that they were having a special exhibition of the Queen’s fashions over the years (Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from the Queen’s Wardrobe). It was so interesting. We saw her wedding gown, her coronation gown and around 150 outfits she had worn to that point, including some of her military uniforms from World War II.
The coronation gown was exquisite. It had floral emblems from each of the countries of the United Kingdom as well as all of the commonwealth nations embroidered on it. There were English Tudor roses, Scottish thistles, Irish shamrocks, Welsh leeks, Canadian maple leaves, lotus flowers representing India and Ceylon, Australian wattle flowers New Zealand ferns and wheat from Pakistan. The attention to detail was amazing.
We also learned about the detail that went into the outfits she took when she went on state visits. The color and style of the gown would match the destination. A local or national flower may be embroidered on the fabric or in the case of her trip to Canada, maple leaves. We also learned that she favored brightly colored ensembles so she would stand out in a crowd. It made it easier for people to say, “I saw the queen!”
Mourning the Queen
Even though I never met Queen Elizabeth, never saw her in person and only made it into her home as a paying tourist, like so many others, I still mourn her passing.
- I don’t mourn because her life was cut short. By all accounts, she had a full, amazing life and did not suffer poor health for very long. She was still performing her official duties by appointing the newest Prime Minister just two days before her death.
- I don’t mourn because of her spiritual state. She expressed a faith in Jesus Christ, so I fully believe she is in heaven with Him right now.
- I mourn because her death will leave a void in the lives of her children, grandchildren, friends, a country and even around the world.
Most of all, I mourn because it feels like the end of an era.
I’ve been watching the media coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s death all week. There are words that have been used over and over. Words like duty, decorum, civility, integrity, faithful, honorable, kind, proper, engaging, loyal — all strong words to describe a remarkable woman, mother, grandmother, friend, head of state and world leader. Also words that sometimes feel as if they are disappearing in the world around us.
I’m sure the queen had people she didn’t particularly care for, people with whom she disagreed. But I don’t remember her making disparaging remarks or using derogatory language towards anyone via the media. I imagine, at times, it took great restraint and self-control, two characteristics that seem to be lacking in our culture today.
I grew up in the era of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but only what is good for building others up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear.Ephesians 4:29
Paying My Respects
So yes, with millions of others, I will mourn the passing of beloved Queen Elizabeth II. I will wake up early to watch the funeral, most likely while drinking Fortnum and Mason’s Royal Tea blend in my Platinum Jubilee mug. I will say prayers for the queen’s family, friends and nation. I will pray especially that we will take to heart the positive things she demonstrated to us during her seventy years reign as
Her Majesty The Queen.