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Paying tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The end of an era

September 18 , 2022


David Harris is a freelance journalist based in Barbados

The death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8th ended an era, on her 21st birthday in 1947, the then Princess Elizabeth went on the radio and made a promise to Britain and its Commonwealth nations: She pledged that her life, whether it be short or long, "will be devoted to your service.”

Over her very long life, Queen Elizabeth II fulfilled that vow. Through countless public events in her 70 years as monarch, Elizabeth likely met more people than anyone in history. Her image on stamps, coins, and banknotes was among the most reproduced worldwide.

She became for many the one constant point in a rapidly changing world as British influence declined, society changed beyond recognition and the role of the monarchy itself came into question.

Her success in maintaining the monarchy through such turbulent times was even more remarkable given that, at the time of her birth, no one could have foreseen that the throne would be her destiny.

But her inner life and opinions remained mostly an enigma. The public saw only glimpses of her personality, her joy watching horse racing at Royal Ascot or being with her beloved Welsh corgi dogs.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in London on April 21, 1926, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York. Her father’s elder brother, Prince Edward, was first in line for the throne, to be followed by any children he had.

In 1936, when she was 10, King Edward VIII abdicated to marry twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson, and Elizabeth’s father became King George VI.

She was barely in her teens when Britain went to war with Germany in 1939. While the king and queen stayed at Buckingham Palace during the Blitz and toured the bombed-out neighborhoods of London, Elizabeth and Margaret stayed for most of the war at Windsor Castle, west of the capital. Even there, 300 bombs fell in an adjacent park, and the princesses spent many nights in an underground shelter.

In January 1952, Elizabeth, then 25, set off with her husband Prince Philip for an overseas tour, she heard of her father's death while staying at a game lodge in Kenya and the new Queen immediately returned to London.

"In a way, I didn't have an apprenticeship," she later recalled. "My father died much too young, so it was all a very sudden kind of taking on and doing the best job you can."

.” On 9 September 2015, she became the longest reigning monarch in British history, surpassing the reign of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. In typical style, she refused to make any fuss saying the title was "not one to which I have ever aspired"

Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built, her death has ushered in a new era.

David Harris is a freelance journalist based in Barbados.