The Passing of the Queen
For all the bad habits I’ve picked up along the way — one I’ve still managed to avoid is picking up my phone and doomscrolling either before bed or before rising.
Today, that made for a fairly surreal drive into the office. Because I didn’t know. When the radio came to life, there was talk of The Queen’s visits to New Zealand over the years. I didn’t immediately think too much of it, beyond perhaps that it was perhaps an odd station to be talking about it. I had made it perhaps two roads from home when just how odd it was penetrated the morning pre-coffee fog enough that I thought, ‘Hm’, and changed the station.
Sure enough — they were also talking about the Queen, this time about her dedication to service. And then I knew. No-one had said it yet, but I knew.
I’m not exactly a royalist. I have no particular attraction to the idea of the Commonwealth breaking apart or New Zealand becoming a Republic either; but all to say, I have no strong emotional ties to the Queen or her family.
And yet… Queen Elizabeth II has been a constant in my life.
She was Queen when I was born, and it was beginning to look like she might still be Queen when I died. Until quite recently, when we started to hear of her increasing issues with mobility and general frailty, I had a serious belief that it was certainly possible that Price Charles (soon to be King Charles III) would pass before his mother.
Today — and I suspect for a while — coverage of the event is unavoidable short of shutting down all media, but it has at least meant I’ve learnt a few things I didn’t know about the Queen’s affiliations with certain organisations and charities within NZ and perhaps most significantly, what value it is people have placed in the Monarchy continuing to exist.
Namely, the ability of the Monarch to sit above, and apart, from the political squabbles of the day and keep an eye on a picture that extends past the point of the very next general election. Someone who could be a unifying presence, above and beyond an individuals political leanings. By all accounts heard today, the Queen was a very intelligent, and inquisitive person. One who when speaking to our politicians of the day, would offer queries in sometimes surprising directions about almost any subject.
I think most telling, for me, was in hearing some of the Maori leaders who spoke today, and who had met her. They were open in acknowledging that while the institution of the Monarchy represents a difficult past, but still held great respect for the Queen as an individual and the efforts she had put forth, over her lifetime, in helping build a relationship.
So while I’m not hit in the same way, emotionally, as some others have been today — I cannot help but to mark the Queen’s passing, ending a 70 year reign, as a loss.