It was a fitting tribute to one of the world’s great leaders.
The world attended Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, coming together to support democracy and the rule of law, freedom and tradition. Moreover, those who gathered at Westminster Abbey or who huddled around TV screens celebrated the life of a remarkable lady who lived to the age of 96 and died within days of ensuring the smooth transition of power to a new Prime Minister.
The Queen’s funeral was Britain at its best. More spectacular than anything we might have imagined, the ceremony was a remarkable exhibition from our Armed Forces. While it was full of grandeur, there were also very personal moments for the Royal Family. They have lost a mother, grandmother, great grandmother and matriarch, and the nation feels their pain. Members of the Royal Family will have been buoyed by the very public display of affection. It will have provided a balm during the darkest of times.
The Queen’s funeral was about more than the Royal Family. It was the opportunity to come together, to share in our collective grief. People from all creeds and backgrounds lined the route in harmony and displayed a sense of togetherness that is all-too-frequently missing from our society. It seems that the Royal Family, sport and culture are unifying forces, while politics sadly is not.
The British public has been remarkable in the week or so since Her Majesty’s death. Their reaction has included hours of patient waiting to pay tribute as the Queen lay in state. While we are too often obliged to dwell on the negatives in our society, be that crime or political corruption, a stuttering economy or the hardships facing so many, the past week has been typified by compassion and respect. It reminds us of a truism that is so frequently forgotten; that the overwhelming majority of people are respectful, considerate and want to be part of a harmonious community.
King Charles III has made an impressive start to his reign at a time of tumult and heartache. His decision to reach out to leaders across the nations in our United Kingdom has engendered greater harmony and solidarity that we have seen in many years. He has been a powerful force for good, bringing together people who have been incompatible in recent times.
He has shown remarkable leadership; being a conduit between The Royal Family and an adoring public, sensing the public mood in a way that our political leaders seem unable to do. He is hurting, more than others, yet he has been stoic and decorous, dignified and gracious. There is much for us to learn from his impeccable conduct.