As I write this I am aware of a deep sense of gratitude and thanksgiving amongst the people of Sussex for the life and reign of HM Queen Elizabeth II who has been our constant point of reference in a period of unprecedented change over some seventy years. We have been blessed to live in the second great Elizabethan age.
In the aftermath of the Second World War Britain’s relative success in rebuilding was expressed in the mood of conservatism prevalent in the 1950s. This was reflected in the seemingly timeless and unchanging imagery of Elizabeth II’s coronation ceremony captured in Cecil Beaton’s portrait of the Queen. For the first time the Coronation was watched on television.
The Queen’s Christian faith was a cornerstone of her life and reign. It informed her sense of calling to the role of monarch and the qualities of service, respect and duty through which she blessed us all.
Speaking about her life the Queen reflected “I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God!”
During her long reign she affirmed what is best in our national life and tended to those in need. Together we shared her joys and sorrows as she shared ours. Reconciliation, too, was a defining quality of her reign. Here was a monarch able to bring reconciliation to her peoples as witnessed in Northern Ireland.
Queen Elizabeth II’s long reign was also shaped by her family. A photograph from 1957 of The Queen and Prince Philip with the young Prince Charles and Princess Anne shows a family happy and at ease at Balmoral.
Her faithful life provided a hope-filled, generous example to us all defined by love, service, respect, duty and courage. She said “For Christians, as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation and prayer help us to renew ourselves in God’s love, as we strive daily to become better people.”
As the second great Elizabethan age draws to a close our hopes and the life of our nation rest with her son, HM King Charles III. As we hold him and his family in prayer we proclaim Long Live the King! God Save the King!
Toovey’s offer our sincere condolences to HM King Charles III and his family on the loss of HM Queen Elizabeth II. We will be closed on Monday 19th September as a mark of respect.