The Queen has left us. Queen Elizabeth II had the longest reign of 70 years, and came to be loved by the world. She was seen more like the nation’s granny. I am no Royalist, but there is a sense of emptiness today.
The Queen has always held a special place even in the hearts of Republicans. I met her once at the summer garden party at Buckingham Palace. I remember it felt wonderful to take the bow. I have met King Charles and Princess Anne, and I can say it was never that sense of admiration that I felt for her. She was different. She demanded respect by her soft smile and soft voice.
Inexplicable Loss of This Queen
Yes, I was in London and, as a scribe, covering the sudden death of Princess Diana on 31 August, 1997. The feeling was different. Pain, anger, and angst about a beautiful young life cut short so early. But this evening is something inexplicable.
It is difficult to write this obituary. Why do I feel so ill-equipped? I do not know. She was only the titular head of this country. I was not born here, and bore no allegiance to the monarchy, I am not a royalist, yet today I feel I have lost a very close family member.
That’s what this Queen was. She could partake in a crazy helicopter jump with the then James Bond Daniel Craig for the 2012 London Olympics opening and even as recent as 2021 do a shoot with Paddington Bear. She could surprise Hollywood actor Tom Hanks at the film Elvis dinner, where when she was presented a clear liquid, not in a glass of water and he asked what her drink was, she said, “Martini.”
Full of Surprises, Committed to Her Duties
She has been a woman of surprises. One image that haunts me the most when her husband, confidante, and friend Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service, in March 2022, where under Covid restrictions she sat alone in black. The love of her life was gone.
Since then, her health has been a matter of concern. But she was committed to her duties. She saw in the 15th Prime Minister Liz Truss just this week. She looked terribly frail.
Monarchy after her will never be the same. I will never forget my only meeting with her. She will always remain the epitome of continuity, stability and adapting to change.
How an Immigrant Like Me Warmed Up to Queen Elizabeth
It is in her reign that this country embraced multiculturalism and immigrants from across the world who found a home here, believed in her, a person who believed in all faiths.
It was way back in 1952, when her coronation she asked people of “all faith” to pray for her. She was constant, steadfast in an ever changing world. She slept her final sleep in her favourite Balmoral Castle, her favourite summer home, where she, as Queen, slept the most. May the Queen sleep in peace.
The next monarch is King Charles and the Queen consort is Camilla. Another era, where monarchy without the Queen will be a different story.
(Nabanita Sircar is a senior journalist based in London. She tweets at @sircarnabanita. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)