Deroy Murdock on September 18, 2022
Queen Elizabeth II lies in state in London’s Westminster Hall, just steps from the House of Commons. That’s where prime ministers numerous enough to count on three hands led Conservative and Labour governments in Her Majesty’s name.
After passing away with little fuss last week at age 96, QE II is being paid respects by Britons who patiently seek a glimpse of her crown and casket in this magnificent room, built in 1097.
Her loyal subjects stood 14 hours in a line that stretches five miles to say goodbye to their departed monarch.
And why not?
What an astonishing life she led! For 70 years, this gallant lady worked with 15 British PMs and served concurrently with 14 American presidents — from Harry Truman through Joe Biden. She knew 13 U.S. chief executives and represented her country in 131 nations.
This daughter of King George VI could have spent World War II in Canada, far from the German bombs and rockets that fell like rain between 1940 and ’45. No one would have begrudged her avoiding this Nazi mayhem.
Instead, to quote James Brown, Princess Elizabeth got up, got into it, and got involved. She remained in Great Britain, where, at age 14, she addressed fellow children by radio. She lamented “the danger and sadness of war” and added: “We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well.”
She joined the British Army’s Auxiliary Territorial Service as a truck driver and mechanic. Peacetime restored her life as a princess until her father’s death in 1952. whereupon she ascended the throne. And this year, she survived COVID-19.
Imagine everything that QE II experienced between Adolf Hitler and Xi Jinping — not as an observer but as one of the highest-profile players on the world stage. As Prime Minister Liz Truss said, she was “the rock on which modern Britain was built.” In her final official act, a sunny QE II appointed Truss as her new PM.
Two days later, Britons heard the words: “The Queen is dead. Long live the King.”
QE II calmly carried on, with elegance, style, and a stoic sense of duty. She did so while holding her political opinions to herself — if she had any.
This was no minor achievement. QE II reigned as Great Britain traveled the long and winding road that linked the advent of the National Health Service, the Suez Crisis, the sun setting on the British Empire, the Irish Republican Army’s terrorist bombs, socialist stagnation, the Falklands War, Thatcherite capitalist expansion, Brexit and countless other controversies.
What did Her Majesty think about these things? Who knew? Because she stayed as neutral as Switzerland while her people battled over one divisive matter after another, Britons Left, middle and Right cherished her as one of their own — or as someone altogether different, whom they all could honor, respect and love.
While I am a proud American, I was fortunate to have lived under QE II’s protection. During fall 1988, I spent the third semester of my NYU MBA program as an exchange student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Back then, we addressed letters, “Hong Kong, BCC” — British Crown Colony.
As such, I recall Government House and the beautiful royal coat of arms across its wrought iron gate. Post offices displayed Her Majesty’s reassuring portrait and her gently smiling face on postage stamps. I knew that if things went dreadfully wrong, the British Armed Forces would arrive in short order to sort them out.
It is the ultimate tribute to QE II and the Special Relationship — over one half of which she was sovereign — that millions of non-royalists in America sincerely mourn her loss.
I offer my condolences to the Windsor family, the people of the United Kingdom, and my cherished friends there who thrived under her rule.
Rest in Peace, Queen Elizabeth II.
Manhattan-based political commentor Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor and senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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