Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, has ruled as monarch in the United Kingdom for nearly 70 years. At 95, she continues on with her royal duties as the vast majority people her age and decades younger would be retired and spending their time having tea and playing bingo. But her tireless dedication has it’s limits, as has been exemplified these last weeks with various health scares.
To help the Queen manage her load and the burden of leadership, her children and grandchildren are rallying around her and will now accompany her on every engagement, with one notable exception.
The first time the public was faced with the reality that Her Majesty is truly feeling her nearly century long life was when she stepped out on an engagement with a cane.
It was the first time she has used a cane since 2003, when she was recovering from knee surgery. Her use of a cane, something many elderly people do, made headlines all over the world.
It’s perfectly understandable that she would need some assistance from time to time, after all she is 95, but a physical sign that she is officially in her twilight years was somewhat shocking for the public.
Then a trip to Northern Ireland was cancelled at the last minute. Something that almost never happens in the rigidly scheduled life of a royal. Reporters were literally landing in region as the news came out.
Later, it came out that not only did Her Majesty cancel, but she spent the night in the hospital and had undergone some tests.
That put the world on notice, the Queen’s time on earth is limited.
For people across the world, The Queen has been the most consistent figurehead of the modern age. Since 1952, she has ruled the U.K. and the Commonwealth. She has seen empires come and go, and seen the world go through immense changes after the Second World War. Over her tenure, she has worked with 14 Prime Ministers, including the indomitable Sir Winston Churchill.
She is a global icon, but she’s not immortal (though she remained remarkable composed on her horse as a gunman fired a shot at her decades ago).
For the world, that’s challenging. For her family, it’s something that they are inevitably expecting, but are struggling to try and figure out how to begin moving on without her steady and gentle hand. How do they move forward and maintain the monarchy in a new and ever changing world?
In many ways, this is a transitional time, as Charles, The Prince of Wales, and Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, are increasingly taking leadership roles within the family.
As part of this effort, and to help the Queen maintain her schedule somewhat while giving her time to rest, members of the royal family will now always be scheduled to attend an engagement with Her Majesty. This will allow the Queen to bow out for health reasons if needed since another family member is already scheduled to attend the same event, and it will not disappoint those who came to see royalty in the flesh.
This will also remove some of the burden of hosting the entire engagement.
Hopefully, this will avoid The Queen overtaxing herself.
It’s already rumored that she could pull out of this week’s upcoming COP26 event, which she is due to attend with Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William and Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge. This is a global leadership summit on climate change, and her presence will likely be deeply missed by all involved.
Meeting current Prime Minister Boris Johnson isn’t much to write home about, but seeing Her Majesty in person is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
As the entire family steps up, there’s a notable exception: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
In the pursuit of Meghan’s Hollywood dreams, Harry has ditched his family and grandmother, who needs his support now than ever before, for the bright lights of the entertainment capital of the world under his wife’s direction. The couple abandoned a life of family and service which perhaps is less glamorous but no doubt infinitely more rewarding, in pursuit of money and fame,
Their shallow life is the complete opposite of Her Majesty’s legacy.
Sometimes, life requires sacrifice and suffering. The Queen exemplifies this dedication to service and duty above all else. As a young woman and mother, she became one of the most powerful women on earth. Instead of running from her duty and family, she refocused her life towards her country.
It’s unfortunate not all her family members could do the same.