Passing The Torch Of The Royal Legacy
Despite her age, I was stunned to receive the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, September 8th. I kept my BBC Live app on all morning when the news alert announced that the Queen was under medical care. So when a colleague at my new assignment at Curry College said the Queen had died, I was truly shocked. Two days earlier, she had ushered in a new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, who shook her hand and smiled gleefully. Yes, she looked frail and leaned on a tall walking cane to help her stay balanced, but death didn't seem imminent.
It was the late morning announcement that really caught my attention. The one that reported all four children were at Balmoral in Scotland, and Prince William and Prince Harry were on their way. It still seemed like a health scare, but not one that would prove fatal. In the end, it was Queen Elizabeth's time to join the ancestors of time and pass the torch onto her eldest child, the now King Charles III.
Americans look at the Royal Family with fascination. Some Americans care little about monarchies in distant lands. I have always been fascinated with the pomp and circumstance of the British monarchy and the pageantry that makes it so unique.
Several years ago, I visited a safari lodge in Kenya that was near the Treetop hotel, where then Princess Elizabeth became Queen, following the sudden death of her father, King George VI, in 1952. That close proximity gave me a better sense of historical relevance to the magnitude of that transition. And from 1952 to 2022, a 70-year record no other British monarchy has topped, Queen Elizabeth II endured the test of time with her ever-present commitment to public service throughout the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth countries, and the world.
Yes, I fully acknowledge the fault lines, pitfalls, mistakes, and colonial control levers in her power and/or influence. The magnificent jewel in her crown that really belongs to the people of South Africa, and the other prized jewels taken from India during colonial days.
I fully acknowledge the historical process of granting independence to countries in the Caribbean and on the continent of Africa in the 1950s, 1960s, and beyond. Those were somewhat difficult times, particularly with the horrific mistreatment of Kenyans during the Mau Mau uprisings from 1952-1960.
And I fully acknowledge the racial issues inside of the United Kingdom and the Windrush immigration issue that has jeopardized some Black British residents' citizenship because of missing paperwork and unsympathetic government officials too quick to deport those back to their Caribbean homelands.
I get all of that. But Queen Elizabeth still managed to rise about the political and social-economic fray to be a steady reminder of elegance under fire.
The Photos I Have Posted
My UK friends and colleagues, Garth Dallas and Carol Ann Whitehead, met the Queen. Carol Ann Whitehead coordinated charitable events in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II (not pictured), (then) Prince Charles, and (then) Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. Garth Dallas spoke to and shook hands with Queen Elizabeth II. I am sure they are reflecting heavily on those moments that will become historical time capsules they will remember forever.
The Transition Moves Forward
Now their titles are King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort. Queen Elizabeth's reign has set a new record at 70 years as the head of the monarchy. A wife, mother of four, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Queen of the British empire. Now in the history books, as she rests in power. I believe she missed her husband, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, who died 17 months ago. They were married for 73 years. That's a LONG time. Now they are together again in the afterlife.
We are all anxious to see how King Charles III will lead. He has spent his entire life preparing for this moment in time, and the world is watching. We hope his leadership and vision will be inclusive, fair, and just.
And may we all take a page out of Queen Elizabeth's book and commit ourselves to service to others.
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Carole Copeland Thomas is a 27 year speaker, trainer and consultant specializing in global diversity, empowerment, multiculturalism and leadership issues.