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The final curtain: Her Majesty the Queen is gone

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Satish Tandon
Satish Tandon
Professor at a reputed university, teaching English and economics, in Japan.

One day before she left us to be among the stars, she fulfilled her last constitutional duty of inviting and appointing Liz Truss to be her fifteenth prime minister. It must have been a heroic effort for her to appear cheerful and supportive of the other ‘Elizabeth’, despite her proximity to death.

Five out of six people in the United Kingdom have not known or seen another British monarch. Her reign lasted for seventy years, from 1952 to 2022. I believe she was a beloved member of every British household, sans her physical presence.

The Queen has been a custodian of tradition, values, and the British way of life. And yet, she presided over enormous cultural, political, and societal change. For instance, there were few divorces in British society when she began her reign. We can imagine her grief when all her children ended up divorcing their partners.

Just as Diana was the Princess of the people, the Queen was the Queen of Hearts who was universally loved and admired and had unmatched grace and dignity. She was true and loyal to her husband Prince Philip and matriarch to the nation and her loyal subjects.

At the time of her birth, her country was still the greatest power the world had ever seen. But by the time she ascended the throne, more than half of British possessions and colonies had been lost, and by the end of the sixties, the other half were also gone. Britain became the sick man of Europe.

All human beings have to face the ups and downs of life. The Queen never lost her composure except once, in 1992, after a fire at Windsor Castle. All of it happened in one calamitous year. It was supposed to be a day of triumph to mark the Queen’s 40 years on the throne, but instead, it turned out to be “annus horribllis”, as she described it. After decades of exemplary, scandal-free service, she rued the 12 catastrophic months that put her record under threat.

What is my take on this? I think the British people have been lucky to have somebody like the Queen as their head of state. Unlike many other heads of state or government, she never once caused embarrassment to her country and people. I think that all of humanity deserves to be led by caring, decent, and self-effacing people like Queen Elizabeth, Barack Obama, or Nelson Mandela.

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Satish Tandon
Satish Tandon
Professor at a reputed university, teaching English and economics, in Japan.
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