THOUGH I HAVE never been a flag-waving monarchist, like many people I found myself shedding a few tears on learning of Queen Elizabeth II’s death at the age of 96.
There were several reasons for this, including a distorted sense of connection to the Royal Family: as a young reporter, I was one of the limited number of journalists from around the world who witnessed firsthand the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. If you’ve ever watched footage of that event in St. Paul’s Cathedral, I am tucked away behind one of the old stone arches to the left of the altar, scribbling shorthand notes.
Another factor was the simple passage of time. Back in the day, I was too excited about what was ahead, making a life in first the Netherlands and then the United States, to reflect on what I was leaving behind when I waved goodbye to England more than 30 years ago. As time goes by, while I am grateful for my home as it is—this is where my family is and will be into the future—I’m so much more aware of my roots. You may be able to shake the soil off your shoes, but you never quite rinse it all away from your hands or your heart.
And then there’s an element that I believe transcends mere humanity. As I have written previously, I believe that just as God embeds something of His nature and character in each of us, He also does the same in countries and institutions. Somehow, I believe, God deposited something in the British monarchy that is a nod to His glorious majesty. How else can one explain the unique interest the British royals spark around the world?
If there is any truth to that, I believe it’s maybe underscored by what Queen Elizabeth II is remembered and revered for—loyalty, nobility, sacrifice, service. Surely all godly virtues. It is also worth noting that she is widely reported to have held a deep and abiding personal faith.
And finally, there’s the Queen Esther element. Though she occupied the throne for 70 years, remember that but for events beyond her, she never would have. As a 10-year-old girl, she was just part of the outer royal circle—a niece to King Edward VIII. When he abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, her father ascended to the throne, and she suddenly became his successor.
Like Esther, she unexpectedly became queen, and also perhaps “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14), years of faithful service for which there is much to be grateful.