Never has this saying been more apropos than now.
Queen Elizabeth II passed away peacefully on Thursday September 8, 2022 at the age of 96 after a 70 year reign.
The only other monarch to make it that long was King Louis XIV who managed to reign 2 years longer Darn it! Did it have to be a man?! But then, he was 20 years younger when he died. So to all intents and purposes, she still wins. HAHA!
The Queen’s passing has reignited a lot of anger and outrage among people from former colonies and other areas where the British Empire made its presence felt in most unwelcome and unpleasant ways.
There is no denying that the British Empire instituted numerous atrocities during a time in history when European entities felt it was their right to “conquer” and “own” lands and peoples miles and miles away from their home. As that time drew to an end, some colonies were graciously “given” independence and the colonial leaders left. “The right thing to do for the people!” Ah, but the masters’ hands were forever in the pot stirring up whatever would be most beneficial to them, whether through means of religion, education, weapons or war. They never truly left. And the brunt of their influence was felt, not by the common man in their home countries, but by the native colonized population who had been stripped of power and identity and whose path through history had been deliberately rerouted.
Some say that after the colonial masters left, African nations made a mess of themselves without the guidance of said masters. This shows the utmost lack of respect for the leadership structures that were already in place long before the Europeans arrived on Africa’s shores. There were empires and kingdoms, religions and education, industry and agriculture in Africa long before the colonial masters took every thing for themselves. Africa was like a ripe fruit ready for plucking and that is what the European powers did. (and still do.)
All this is true!
And the anger, outrage and pain are sincere and not to be denied.
No one should be told not to feel what they feel.
Aha!….that brings us to a very British thing, doesn’t it? Stiff upper lip and carry on as usual.
Emotions and opinions are just that and they do not supersede duty!
Enter: Queen Elizabeth II, age 25, a queen quite by accident, but properly indoctrinated to perform her duty to the royal empire and the church of England first and foremost. Her father had died but her mother, a remnant from that generation, was on hand for many more years to guide and advice and help keep her true to her duty. This inheritance was a giant load to be laid upon her young shoulders and I imagine that she thought, if she would just dedicate herself to her duty and do everything by the book, she would be a successful queen, securing the support of her people, and have nothing to worry about.
She had a great deal of help since she did not really need to run the government. Many decisions and actions would be made and taken without her input or even knowledge. All she needed to do, was dedicate her life, her body, her mind, in essence her all, to the duty of keeping the Empire alive. Everything and anything else, would have to be secondary.
That is the life of a royal! Born into extreme privilege but bound and shackled by duty and tradition.
And to that end, she was a true and faithful servant.
Queen Elizabeth was not a radical who would decide to go against everything she had been taught. She followed diligently on the path that had been laid out for her and did all that was required of her for the survival of the empire.
Sadly, to the detriment of many innocent people.
The fact is, there cannot be a leader without blood on their hand! In the game of power and politics, there will always be a winner and a loser. Unfortunately, this game is not one played on a board, it is played at the expense of real people, real lives and real nations.
And so it is to be expected that there will be those who mourn and those who rejoice at the end of the era.
Alas, that is the story of history.
Now she has gone on to meet her maker who alone can say if she fulfilled her mission here on earth.
As we look upon the crown bearing the South African Cullinan Diamond seated upon her coffin we wonder if she can indeed now lie easy or if she even ever did.
In conclusion, I would like to say a few words of my own as a woman since that is the purpose of this blog. As a woman, I ask myself, in that situation, could/would I have done anything different?
We don’t know this woman personally or really know what she thought or how she felt. These things were kept hidden from us. It is difficult to make a pure judgement based only on our side of the story.
What she did represent to me:
- A woman at the top. A Queen!
A woman whom men bowed to. Her husband walking behind her.
Most of us in our daily lives must fight to be heard. We go to the spa to “feel like a Queen.”
We look for men who care for us and call us their Queen.
She had all that! Yes, she was just lucky that she was born into it, but still, she lived what we dream.
And the truth is, we are all Queens! We just don’t live it. She lived it because she knew it and therein lies the key. We need to KNOW that we are Queens. Then we will live the reality of it.
- She carried all the weight that a woman does – daughter, wife, mother, grandmother
And it was not always easy. Any woman who is the primary breadwinner knows that it is not always easy balancing the “power” battles in the family. It is hard but necessary to be able to talk with your partner about such matters so that we are not carrying the weight of feeling guilty for doing what is necessary.
Children go off and do their own thing. Sometimes, they disappoint us. Hurt us. That is just that nature of things. She might have thought that all her offspring would act and dutifully and righteously as she had done, but she must have been sorely disappointed many times. Being a mother is no small feat, no matter your position in society.
- She was human!
Like you and I.
She was not better than anyone, she was the same as everyone. She just happened to be born into the family she was born into. We all have the capacity for good and bad within us. And we all have the power of choice. And we all live life daily, doing the best we know how with the information and background we have been given.
- Objectively speaking, she was an ever-present part of the last 70 years of human history.
A kind of sameness in a world where change is constant and getting faster and more drastic.
So, woman to woman, I say…
R.I.P. Queen Elizabeth II