It is hard to explain the deep outpouring of sadness on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen has already been rightfully granted the adjective “the Great” but she won no great battles, passed no reforming laws nor heralded in some great revolution.
Instead, she is a hero to millions for her contrast to other greats of the modern age which may be dubbed, for want of a better term, the age of ego. In the age of mass media, instagram and democratic elections, political leaders almost always have to think highly of themselves to succeed.
Invariably democracies attract those that have sufficient self-confidence to withstand the brutal personal attacks from the impersonal medium of twitter and its ilk. As Winston Churchill remarked “democracy is the worst of all political systems, except for all of the other ones.”
The vain leaders of the modern age make room for a different type of leader immune from all that drama. Ironically, an anachronistic royal family can fit the bill. Or at least Queen Elizabeth II did. In 70 years of being perhaps the most famous person in the world no one can think of her putting a foot wrong.
I would not have had her job for quids.
There is the constant gaze of the public, the embarrassment of family squabbles and splits splashed across tabloids and the repetitive functions where you must say kind things at the society for left-handed dog walkers, without seeming frustrated.
She never did and we are all so lucky for having her steadfast, simple leadership enrich our lives.
There is another aspect of the sadness on her loss, however. That is the fear that we may not see her type again.
Some are calling her 70-year reign the Elizabethan age but in truth she represented an older time of morals and values that were destroyed by the social change in Britain and elsewhere since the 1960s.
Just before that decade, Queen Elizabeth gave her first Christmas address via the new medium of television.
The Queen recognised that many felt “lost” with the speed of changes occurring, like the invention of television but, as she went on to describe, she did not blame “the new inventions for the difficulty, the trouble is caused by unthinking people who carelessly throw away ageless ideals as if they were old and outworn machinery. They would have religion thrown aside. Morality in personal and public life made meaningless. Honesty counted as foolishness and self-interest setup in place of self-restraint.”
Many feel sad at the Queen’s loss because deep down we know that we have not heeded her warning.
Old principles have been tossed aside for the empty consumerism and narcissism of a hyper-capitalist society. Families have broken up, drug use has surged, sexual assault occurs regularly in the workplace and domestic violence is now one of our main social problems.
And things seem to be getting worse rather than better because we are fed a diet of thinking that things always progress for the better overtime.
Therefore, our solutions must be found in the latest fads of gender fluidity or the tautological nonsense of slogans like “love is love”.
In her 1957 Christmas broadcast the Queen said, “we need a special kind of courage, not the kind needed in battle but a kind which makes us stand up for everything that we know is right, everything that is true and honest.”
The Queen fought that battle valiantly, if unsuccessfully, but we can keep her spirit alive by acting on her words and rejecting the fashionable and returning to old virtues of the tried and tested.