We have all heard the phrase, a picture is worth 1,000 words. Last weekend, many of us saw that phrase given emotional life as our hearts broke at the image of 94 year old Queen Elizabeth II, sitting alone in church at the funeral mass of Prince Phillip, her husband of 73 years. A testament to strength, leadership, empowerment, and love, Queen Elizabeth showed each of us just what it means to be a leader and to choose to do the right thing, even under the hardest of circumstances.
The United Kingdom is still under strict COVID-19 regulations and as such, only members of the same household could sit together. As such, the Queen sat alone in church, bidding a last farewell to her beloved husband, under the public eye—the same eye she’s been under since she assumed the throne in 1952 at the age of 25. To have lived from 1952 until 2021 in the constant view of the public, to have had her families lives splashed across news shows and tabloids, to have dealt with the death of Diana of Wales and to support her then young grandsons, all while being analyzed and commented upon and judged by some—that’s an incredibly difficult life. And, to be left alone with those memories and countless more heavy on her shoulders, as she mourned the one who was closest to her—the sorrow must be insurmountable.
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest lived and longest reigning British monarch. She is the longest serving female head of state in world history and the world’s oldest living monarch, longest reigning current monarch, and oldest and longest serving current head of state. Her grace, poise, dignity, respect for all, as well as her leadership skills, public persona, and love for the British people make her an incredible and empowering role model for young women across the globe.
Perhaps that’s why, last Saturday, so many women wept for the Queen—because the images we saw showed us not just Queen Elizabeth II, Head of State, but Queen Elizabeth, mourning the love of her life, a widow at age 94, adhering strictly to the COVD-19 regulations put in place to protect her country and the world. It’s an image we won’t soon forget of a woman who will be a legend after her time.
God Save the Queen!