I’m one of your subjects whom you never met. The closest I came was at King’s College, London in 1972 when you came to open our new science building on The Strand. The college authorities decided that you and Prince Philip should see a chemistry class in action. They decked out the Ladies’ on Floor 8 as if it were a fairy loo. I hope you used it before you were escorted round the benches where the entire postgrad population were pretending to be students.
You never stopped at the bench where I was stationed. Philip did, briefly, but by that time you’d reached the final exhibit. My friends Bob and Brian were stationed there, operating a fascinating experiment where the mixture in a flask turned blue, then pink, then back again and so forth with no intervention. It had been planned that way, knowing you’d have a wait on your hands…
My mum told me that you acceded to the throne when I was a year old. The news was being gossiped around town just as we came out of the butcher’s. Funny…until last November, my mum had always been there. And so had you.
My sisters and I often compared you and Mum to each other. Like you, she had an iconic way of building bridges with people whose background was very different from her own. Most memorably, she found herself in a railway carriage with a young Argentinian man in 1983, just after the Falklands war. He wasn’t expecting a friendly greeting, but Mum excitedly recounted her visit to the Iguasu Falls (scene of the film, ‘The Mission’) on the Argentine/Brazil border eight years previously.
I was deeply impressed by the story of your visit to the North London Mosque after it had been attacked by a white supremacist. By allowing yourself to be welcomed, you identified with the Moslems in a way that left them in no doubt that you were their Queen, not just that of white, Christian people.
Thank you, Your Majesty, for having governed with such humility. Recently I took part in a pub discussion about leadership; I’m so sorry, we were debating a certain controversial American president who wasn’t your favourite visitor. I was asked what I most admired in a head of state or a politician. I tried to explain what I meant by a ‘servant leader’, someone whose whole motivation was to empower and ennoble others. I was thinking of my ultimate hero, Jesus, the subject of Graham Kendrick’s hymn, ‘the Servant King’. Jesus modelled an upside-down pyramid of leadership where those who are greatest see their role to serve.
Straightaway, my Trump-supporting debating opponent replied, “Oh, you mean like the Queen?”
People often quote your remarkable speech committing yourself, aged 21, to a life of servanthood to your people. It became increasingly well known that this arose out of your heart of servanthood to God.
So, what sort of legacy will you leave? Will the country and the commonwealth you have loved, descend into chaos? I’ve already compared you with Jesus. He said, about his own death, that it was like a grain of wheat falling into the soil. It was by dying that the grain bore fruit as it germinated. And sure enough, Jesus’ death not only released humankind from the power of evil. It meant he became a part of the life of all those who had placed their faith in him.
In the same way, I believe your passing will inspire a commitment by many people to live by your example; to stop, question their motivation, and learn from the way of life you have modelled. To question the unspoken assumption that faith in Jesus may be discarded as irrelevant.
Your Majesty, Thank You for being who you are. Thank You for living a life of faith, commitment, dedication and goodness. For demonstrating that this is compatible with living life to the full. Fare you well, as you travel through the fields of paradise to the royal courts of Heaven.
4 thoughts on “A Letter to Her Majesty, September 2022”
Brilliant. I hope she can read this on her journey to Heaven. A letter we would all love to be worthy of receiving.
Well said John.
RIP your majesty Queen Elizabeth Il
Thank you, Shirley, Thank you Ann, for your kind comments.
We enjoyed a wonderful sermon this morning from Alan Hoggard, in which he shared a number of little-known details about the Queen’s life as a Christian.
Insightful words as ever John, thank you