Queen Elizabeth II taught the world last week a lesson on the importance of being consistent. To a world that loathes long term commitment, winces at the mention of staying together for a lifetime and expects everything in bite sized pieces that can be consumed now and experienced in a nano second , the long serving British monarch is a powerful lesson in the values depicted in the old world order.
Elizabeth II comes from a time that millennials and the children of the mobile phone generation cannot really relate to. She belongs to an era that even today, is truly relished. Just look at the outstanding success of Downton Abbey – the perfect depiction of an era when people had a sense of duty, empathy, traditional values and manners – that was popular for obvious reasons. We may not be too fond of such values on the outside but on the inside, they not only offer us insights into a time that was a lot less stressful but was also the very embodiment of what we may call the art of living and living well.
The Queen personifies this beautifully. Watch her from the time she ascended to the throne as a young girl to the grand celebration of her 90th birthday last week. Little is changed, you will agree. She still holds herself with perfect ease that not only comes from a royal upbringing but also a deeply seated sense of duty. She still behaves impeccably in the presence of guests and is never found to look or sound bored, fiddle with a phone when she thinks no one is looking as some of us are prone to do. She is the delightfully unchanged treasure she was all those years ago. Unchanged. In today’s world marked by versions and updates, in which nothing lasts longer than the next upgrade, Queen Elizabeth II is wonderfully endearing, beautifully consistent.
She can teach the world a lesson or two about keeping a marriage going, the importance of honouring the vows exchanged. Her marriage has lasted, she and the Duke of Edinburgh are a team ; they certainly have had ups and downs as everyone else, but their love, their commitment and their marriage has lasted. That must mean something to all of us. More so to the young who may find the concept of anything that lasts for a lifetime a tough act to follow.
The fact that she is truly a dignitary recognised by all – even the most tough, most anti-royalist leader is supposed to be awed in her presence – must say something not just about her status as royalty but the dignity and respect she has held herself with for all those years. She is not about celebrity status that comes instantly with half dressed photos bordering on pornography, instantly shared with millions of Instagram users for profit – she is about class, dignity and allure that cuts through the noise and fame.
Let’s face it – who are the idols today’s young have, ones they can look to with admiration? Very few – too many of them are idols by virtue of taking naked or semi naked selfies or bearing their body parts in various poses on the internet. Others have trouble staying committed – to a career, to a marriage, to commitment itself. In a temporary world, The Queen is a long lasting, trustworthy, reliable, consistent icon of everything the fashionably liberal modern day pundits look down upon. Her faith is important to her, her duty is priority, her commitment to her people and her country is paramount.
So you will agree that we have an absolute winner, a true heroine of the 21st century, one who is proud to keep working right into her Nineties, who is driven by loyalty and duty, a lesson indeed to us all. History someday will look back at Her story with lasting pride.
Happy birthday Ma’am – may God bless you.