The only monarch I’ve ever known – Graham Kendall The passing of England’s Queen Elizabeth II hits her citizens the hardest

The only monarch I’ve ever known – Graham Kendall The passing of England’s Queen Elizabeth II hits her citizens the hardest

ON Thursday evening (Malaysia time), my wife and I were at a charity event when the news started to come through that the royal family were gathering at Balmoral, and that BBC staff were being instructed to change into black clothes.

We awoke to the news that Queen Elizabeth II passed away peacefully at her Scottish residence, Balmoral, surrounded by her family. This day was inevitable, but nonetheless the news was shocking.

Aged 25, Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary ascended to the throne on February 6, 1952, following the death of her father King George VI.

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2, 1953, although she was queen as soon as her father passed. Similarly, as soon as the queen passed away, Prince Charles became King Charles III.

On her 21st birthday, in 1947, the queen said “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong”.

She upheld this promise throughout her life, until her passing on September 8, 2022, aged 96.

I was born in 1961, so Queen Elizabeth II has been the only monarch I have ever known. Her Christmas message was always something we listened to, and we took pride in the fact that she was admired the world over.

Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, the Tower of London, and the changing of the guards topped any list of must-sees for any tourist. Everyone looked upwards at Buckingham Palace to see whether the Royal Standard was flying, signifying that the monarch was in residence.

Over a 70-year reign, the queen dealt with many challenges, including the untimely death of Princess Diana in 1997, and the fire at Windsor Castle in 1992, which along with family issues made her describe that year as her “annus horribilis”.

The death of her beloved husband Prince Philip, in 2021, after 73 years of marriage must have been a very difficult time, and who can forget the images of her sitting alone at the funeral in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle due to Covid-19 restrictions.

There have been memorable and surprising moments throughout her reign, where she showed her playful side.

For example, as part of the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics, the queen participated in a skit showing her arriving with Daniel Craig as James Bond, by helicopter and parachuting into the opening ceremony.

In 2022, as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the queen had tea with Paddington Bear and exchanged remarks about marmalade sandwiches and where they kept them; Paddington under his hat and the queen in her handbag.

On a more Malaysian note, Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’afar, the Commonwealth Games Federation president, struggled to open the Commonwealth baton at the opening of the 2014 Games in Glasgow. Even Sir Chris Hoy, a six-time Olympian, struggled to help.

The queen just looked on and smiled in amusement.

I never had the privilege of meeting the queen, although I was able to host Prince Charles (now King Charles III) at the University of Nottingham Malaysia in November 2017.

Along with the then youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin, and then British high commissioner Vicki Treadell, we were able to tell His Royal Highness something of Nottingham’s world-leading research, as well as enabling staff and students to meet the prince.

What this royal visit demonstrated to me was the popularity and affection towards the royal family, which has remained undiminished during the reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The University of Nottingham has hosted many VIP visitors, including prime ministers and members of Malaysia’s royal family, but the visit by the (then) heir to the throne attracted the largest crowd of people I have ever witnessed on our academic plaza and by far the most social media interest.

The world mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and we are grateful to her resolute and true service to our nation, and to the Commonwealth.

Today we also celebrate our new king. No date has yet been set for his coronation, but he is now King Charles III and we look forward to his knowledge and wisdom for many years to come.

Professor Graham Kendall is senior vice-president of PETRA Group and chief executive of the Good Capitalism Forum. He also served as provost and CEO of The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

source – The Vibes

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