It wasn’t my plan to write about the death of Queen Elizabeth II today. But life rarely goes to plan, and it felt wrong to write about anything else.
I want to start this post by addressing the fact that I know the Queen was not everyone’s cup of tea. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is not the intention of this post to try to change anyone’s mind on that.
But as someone who has long loved the British Monarchy and all the pomp and ceremony that goes hand in hand with having a King or Queen, I felt it was only right to pen a little something in the days following the Queen’s passing.
At lunchtime on Thursday, my mum sent a Facebook post to our family Whatsapp group saying that the Doctors were growing concerned for the Queen’s health. It was a day we all knew was coming. The Queen had been looking frailer and frailer since the death of her husband last year.
As silly as it sounds, many of us always thought the Queen would be around forever. Yet there was also a deep feeling in our guts that the end was not far away.
Despite the news that lunchtime, I’m not sure we expected to receive the news the same day of her passing.
I was watching Arsenal’s first Europa game of the season, and at half-time, coverage was interrupted to announce the passing of the Queen.
My eyes filled with tears as the news sank in.
My good friend ‘Resilience’ soon took over, and my shock and sorrow turned to ‘What happens next?’.
Many of us do not know of a world without the Queen, so we had no idea what would happen next.
We always knew that Prince Charles, as he was just a few days ago, was in line to become King once the Queen passed, but we had no idea what the protocol would look like for mourning the Queen and the announcement of Prince Charles becoming the new King.
As someone whose job is to manage clients’ social media accounts, I knew I had to get a message out to each of my clients to find out whether they wanted anything posted that evening to mark the passing of the Queen.
I also had ‘normal’ posts scheduled for the following day, so I needed to find out quickly whether they wished for them to go out as usual or whether to postpone them.
I had thoughts on what my clients should do, but the nature of the job often means parking my views and doing as the client wishes.
Now is probably not the time to dissect the responses from my clients, but there was quite a mix!
Some clients wanted posts going out that evening to mark the passing of the Queen. For others, it was a case of postponing scheduled posts, and for others, it meant taking no action at all.
As much as I often despise my resilient side kicking in, there are also times when I buzz off it. Having my finger on the pulse and acting quickly for my clients despite the sad circumstances gave me that buzz. I guess it’s a similar feeling journalists get when they rush to the location of a breaking news story.
Once I had everything for my clients in place, I closed my laptop and spent the rest of the evening glued to the news.
Any significant event involving the Royal Family often leads to deep conversations with my partner. He wasn’t born in the UK, and despite living here for many years, he doesn’t always understand my love for the Royals.
I would be lying if I said those conversations don’t leave me questioning the connection I feel towards them.
But I think it boils down to these points:
1) The Royal Family are living history. They are the closest things we have to historic Britain. Tales of their lives will go into the history books, and future generations will learn about them in years to come.
2) I grew up down the road from Althorp House, the home of Earl Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother, and I was lucky enough to spend a summer working there.
3) When I was in Secondary School, I was in the school band, and I fondly remember playing for the Queen Mother.
4) Princes William and Harry are a similar age to my brothers and me. Seeing them grow up on our TV screens was difficult at times. But it also made us feel connected to them as we saw them going through stuff that feels familiar, such as grief, love and even problems with their mental health.
5) The Queen reminded me of my Nanna. They shared a love for hats and handbags and even similarly styled their hair.
6) The Queen had been on the throne for my entire life and that of my mother and father. We do not know of a world without her.
However, we must now prepare for a new era. King Charles III has swiftly become our Head of State, and whilst I’m sure he will want to maintain traditions, I do not doubt that he will want to put his own stamp on things.
Just two days before the death of Her Majesty, England also welcomed a new Prime Minister, Liz Truss.
In just a few days, the leadership of our country has completely changed.
Everything feels a little bit uncertain. Yet, change also brings with it an air of excitement.
Living in a country that is unsure of its identity at times, the Royal Family often feels as though it’s our last little bit of tradition.
Whatever your thoughts on the death of Queen Elizabeth II, it’s important to remember that people are mourning.
Allowing people the time to grieve, even if it is the loss of someone they have never met, is a crucial part of the process.
The death of the Queen may make you reflect on recent or not-so-recent losses of your own. And that’s ok too.
It’s also ok to turn off the tv. Whether you’ve been glued to the TV like me or have no interest in it, remember to control the amount of news you consume at times of change, as it can be hugely unsettling.
And that just leaves me to say, in the words of Paddington Bear – ‘Thank you, ma’am, for everything.’