The Queen is gone, time to move on …

It’s the end of a long 10 days of national mourning. Queen Elizabeth II died, is now buried and gone and it appears, it’s time to move on. It’s been a week of watching people from all over the world stand in line for hours upon hours, to pay their respects in Westminster Hall, London, where the Queen lay in state.

Today has been a day of dramatic images: the funeral at Westminster Abbey, the place where she was crowned and anointed for service. The full splendour of a Royal state funeral with the drums, the Royal Navy, and other uniformed members of the armed forces. Those magnificent young Grenadier Guards who carried her lead-lined,600 lb.coffin, (that regiment is one of the oldest in the British Army and traces its history back to 1656).

The slow, escorted drive not only along crowded London streets, but also along country roads to her final resting place alongside her husband, mother and father at Windsor Castle.  If you spent the day watching the Queen’s funeral on the TV, as I did, you may be exhausted. Not just from rising  before dawn to “be there” for the live event (Britain is 5 hours ahead of Tallahassee), but from the heaviness of grieving. Watching so many other thousands of people openly grieve, observing the family stoicism as they accompanied her coffin. It was a sad day for Brits everywhere. It was a sad day for a lot of other people too.

I don’t know about you, but I still vividly recall that “flat” feeling after burying a loved one. All the activities had taken place. All the friends and family had come and gone. All the sympathy cards had been opened and read. And it was back to reality. Back to work. Back to trying to fit too many responsibilities into a mere 7 day week. Back to laundry and dishes. To TV evening news drama, birthday celebrations, planning for Christmas and so on. Normal, mundane activities that make up much of life.

It’s tough. I can only imagine what King Charles (how long will it take to get used to saying that, I wonder?), William, Kate, Harry, Meghan and the rest of the family must be feeling. Is it the same simple “flat” feeling after burying a loved one? Or is it even more pronounced because of all the national pomp and circumstance, the thousands of people all around the world grieving with you?

I cannot fathom it.

For King Charles (and the British government) there’s more to be done than just getting back to work. More than trying to be normal and just carry on with whatever life looked like before that loved one died. After all, it is the end of the second Elizabethan era. The beginning of a new era. The postage stamps, with the Queen’s head on them, will all have to be redesigned. The money, (the notes as well as the coins) will have to reprinted. All the stationary for the military, and all other government entities will have to be redesigned.  Plus, a gazillion other details that most of us never give a second thought. Because we’re so used to seeing her silhouetted face on so many things.

I’m sure there are all sorts of plans, probably decades in the making, of what happens next. After all, everyone knew the Queen was going to die one day. I read somewhere recently, probably in one of the many British newspapers and magazines I have ingested, that she outlived everyone who officiated at her coronation. Then she became an institution herself.

An institution apart from the institution of the actual monarchy. That’s quite true.

Even those Brits who consider themselves republicans, as being against the institution of the monarchy, feel a deep sense of personal loss. That is odd, but also true. That’s probably because she’s always been there. For every Brit that’s under the age of 96, she’s never not been there. Like the beloved, elderly Auntie or Grandmother we all loved and felt like we knew, when in reality we’d never even met. (Not even on Facebook!) There has been this sense of shock that has taken 10 days of mourning to be quelled.

It may seem strange. But like the Meryl Streep/Alec Baldwin movie said, “It’s Complicated”.

Somebody said recently “She spoke so seldom that even people who didn’t care what the Queen said, cared what the Queen said”.  This so perfectly captures how many people feel, and why there has been such an outpouring of sentiment over her death. And the fact that she seemed to live an exemplary life of duty and service. Queen Elizabeth was a committed Christ-follower and her funeral, planned by her, demonstrated that faith.

Royalist or republican, it’s hard to criticize the woman, who took an oath, and kept to it, despite culture wars, family scandals, and so many other things that could have forced her to deviate from the vows she made to God, 70 years ago.

There will be talking heads in the next few days/weeks who will analyze the events of this day. Particularly in Britain. And I will be watching it, reading or listening to it! Some will focus on whether Meghan shed a tear or not. Whether Camilla should be Queen-Consort or just Queen (Diana lovers won’t have that!)

Some will focus on what happens next – how will King Charles set about reforming things as the new monarch? Will he go through with the coronation next summer? (I’m assuming it will be summer 2023, because it took a few, long months to get organized for the crowning of Queen Elizabeth when her father, King George VI, died).

Either way, Queen Elizabeth II is gone, it’s the end of her era. It’s time to move on, and the changes may prove to be dramatic. Stay tuned.

I know I will.


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The Staffordshire Room  | Little English Guesthouse B&B, Tallahassee, FL


The Staffordshire Room  | Little English Guesthouse B&B, Tallahassee, FL

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