By the time you get to read this letter, the period of mourning for our late Queen, HM Queen Elizabeth II will be over. The parades, The Queue, formal lying-in-State and the funeral will all have come to an end, although our heartfelt praise and gratitude for Her Majesty and her long and glorious reign will last for ever. There will always be a special place for her, both in our history and the heart of the nation – and yet now in this period after the funeral we have an opportunity for quiet thought and reflection.
Perhaps one of the most striking things that struck visiting Presidents, Prime Ministers and other Heads of State, was that despite their constant praise of Queen Elizabeth as being ‘a rock’, and a ‘constant and invaluable presence’ (considering that she had witnessed 15 different Prime Ministers and 14 US Presidents during her reign), was the instant and seamless flow from one Sovereign to another; the Sovereign may have died but the Monarchy lives on; the Queen is dead; God save the King! This is not to show any form of disrespect, but to ensure that the life of the nation is maintained even in periods of great sadness and difficulty. The fact that Prince Charles became King Charles III upon the death of his mother, even before there was any formal proclamation or act of accession feels extraordinary to foreign dignitaries (and a great relief to those of us who have just witnessed the latest Conservative leadership contest). It’s the monarchy which helps bring this sense of constancy so admired by others, and perhaps most poignantly summed up by the Queen’s own words that “I find that one of the sad things is that people don’t take on jobs for life”.
Inevitably the sad death of the Queen will bring a period of uncertainty and change to those who have known nothing else, but the new King’s dedication to follow his late mother’s sense of Christian service and duty has been both comforting and reassuring. It’s also comforting that the Christian and religious nature of much of the past proceedings has brought a comfort and consolation to many, regardless of their own religious faith or lack of it – all are welcome here. Elizabeth was our Queen and now Charles is our King.
However, the Christian will also have a sense of another constancy in their lives, one that is central and a bed-rock to all that they say and do, bringing much comfort, strength and peace, and that is of course in God whose eternal nature was most wonderfully demonstrated through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is both God incarnate, and ‘Sovereign Lord and King’. His majesty and eternal promise gives us strength in times of difficulty, peace in times of uncertainty, hope for the future and comfort even beyond the grave. So as we look to the future of our nation, may we all celebrate our new earthly monarch and put our faith in the one in whose name he serves.
“And surely I am with you always …” Matthew 28.20