Where does this particular thrill of emotion come from that runs through the world at a time when the United Kingdom says goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II? Perhaps from the feeling of seeing history being written. Or of this quiet and resolute staging of the event, where each minute detail seems the fruit of a national liturgy.
There is no need to harbor any sympathy for the monarchy to recognize something soothing in this verticality devoid of any gesticulation.
The very incarnation of a form of constancy, of permanence
There is also, in the solemnity of the moment, the need to honor an exceptional destiny. For most of us, the reign of Elizabeth II will have been a fixed point, a landmark in a world in perpetual motion, where one information constantly drives out the other. From her “solemn act of consecration” in 1947, by which she promised to dedicate her whole life, whether long or short, at the service of her people, at her last breath, this woman who was not born to be queen has become the very incarnation of a form of constancy, of permanence.
In 70 years on the throne, she will have experienced all the upheavals of the second half of the 20th century.e century and almost a quarter of the next. With her, it’s a banality to write it, a world ends up going away. And whoever is happening is cause for concern, especially when a bad wind seems to be blowing these days, in Sweden, in Italy…
A certain relationship to the Christian faith
Sovereign and reassuring, by its capacity to unify the United Kingdom, it will have crossed the decades while always remaining, in the eyes of all, a mystery. Many newspapers, books, films and series will have tried, without real success, to lift a corner of the veil on the deep thoughts of Elizabeth II, whether in politics, in her private life or her relations with the Anglican Church of England, of which she was symbolically Supreme Governor. Faced with courtiers and faced with storms, she remained with the same restraint, almost marmoreal. The one from which icons are made.
Woman at the head of a State, woman at the head of a Church, she also embodied a certain relationship to the Christian faith. In a world of bishops and theologians, she manifested a very “Low Church” side, a more austere spirituality that was at the same time popular in form. She was content, without big speeches, to testify to her faith with simple and lively words, especially during her traditional Christmas television messages, like a grandmother sharing with her family what made her live. So she confided in 2014, with touching sobriety: “The life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my faith. »
Words and gestures to speak to the soul of peoples
We may remember that it was with the same calm assurance that she spoke, in April 2020, at the most uncertain of the Covid-19 pandemic, in a speech of encouragement to the British. When so many Heads of State and Government vied with each other over the gravity of the situation, only two knew how to find the words and gestures to speak to the hearts and souls of the people: Pope Francis and Queen Elizabeth.
Echoing a popular song from the Second World War, another global crisis experienced in her youth, she made an impression by peacefully launching: “We will meet again”, ” We’ll see each other again “. How not to (re)read today in these words the expression of the Christian hope which was his, the assurance of a life which goes beyond this world and death. In short, the ultimate sermon of the queen of a century, in this language of Shakespeare that resonates throughout the planet: Yes, we will meet again.