In April Queen Elizabeth II celebrated yet another birthday. She is now 94 years of age! She and her husband, Prince Philip who will have his 98th birthday this year are isolated in Windsor Castle because of the pandemic.
Now you may not be a monarchist but, at a personal level, one cannot help but admire the Queen for a number of reasons:
- Work ethic - Elizabeth didn't expect to be the Queen of England but when her uncle David abdicated to be with his twice divorced American wife her father became King and she automatically was in line to follow him. Her coronation in 1952 was the beginning of what is now the monarch with longest reign in the world. But it is not just her years of service to the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries that is important. She is an active ruler who actually had 295 engagements in 2019. I don't know many people who are still working at the age of 94 years!
- Balance - Since she took the throne, the Queen has witnessed so much change in the world. Her first address was on radio and now she uses Zoom and other technology to communicate. She has lived through wars, natural disasters and plagues. Social and political structures have changed many times during her lifetime. She has worked with 14 Prime Ministers in her home country and dozens of leaders in other countries. Through it all, however, she has been a steady support who could be depended upon for consistency and grace.
- Personal boundaries - The Queen doesn't air dirty linen! She has never given an interview and even when she is facing personal loss or family problems, she presents herself with quiet dignity.
- Positive influence - People look to the Queen for comfort. She set an example for others and took on a position as a mechanic in the war. She spoke comfort to the world after the death of Princess Diana and she was the one person who millions were waiting to hear from during the current pandemic. Her speeches are short but laced with hope.
- Self-care habits - Despite her age, the Queen continues to walk, and ride horses every day! (I hear that she needed to get a shorter horse so it would be easier to mount). She never uses a bannister even when she is wearing a heavy crown or cape because it builds her core. She eats regular and nutritious meals.
- Curiosity - The Queen is interested in both people and things. She reads, asks good questions and ensures that she has contact with interesting people from different walks of life.
We have no idea how long the Queen will live. She pledged as a young woman to serve her entire life. When she is gone, it will be a drastic loss. Over eighty percent of Britians have never had another ruler!
Victoria long weekend is a time when the Commonwealth remembers the birthday of Queen Elizabeth and her great grandmother, Queen Victoria who reigned for more than 63 years. For many, this is just a statutory holiday for camping, resting and enjoying the spring weather.
This year, on the May long weekend, think about the example that Queen Elizabeth has set for us. Are there things that she has done that you might want to incorporate into your life? Lots to think about!