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A bygone era

World leaders united briefly and offered homage to Queen Elizabeth II, after the world’s longest-serving monarch died at her Scottish home at the ripe age of 96.

Her passing was not unexpected, as the oldest ruling monarch in British history had recently appeared more fragile in recent months, but it still comes as a national shock for Britain and the world, who have known her as the ruler of the United Kingdom since 1952 and was also the head of state in 14 Commonwealth countries around the world.

Tributes have poured in – from countries she had ruled over to those she had been at war with, from tiny territories to the mightiest governments, and from centuries-old institutions to nations that had not yet been born when she took the throne.

Queen Elizabeth’s life spanned the entire history of modern Britain. She was born when her country ruled a global empire of some 600 million people, and today it is a medium-sized but still influential European country with an uncertain future. Throughout her long rule, she provided an undeniable source of stability as her country and the world underwent epochal changes.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres described it best when he said Queen Elizabeth had been “widely admired for her grace, dignity and dedication around the world. She was a reassuring presence throughout the decades of sweeping change.” As did EU council president Charles Michel who said “Once called ‘Elizabeth the Steadfast’, she never failed to show us the importance of lasting values in a modern world.”

Grace, dignity, dedication and lasting values are truly difficult to find these days, even among world leaders. Queen Elizabeth’s passing reminds us of a bygone era when leaders strove to be respectable and dignified, giving their subjects or constituents a figurehead with values they could look up and want to emulate.

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II marks the end of an era, especially for the monarchy that without her, will now have to adapt to a changing world. As it evolves, hopefully the positive aspects of the monarchy, as defined by her dignified reign, are kept so that the leaders of the world, and their people, can still have a model to look up to.*

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September 2022
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