Saying goodbye after 70 years of service…

is there a place for this ancient Royal traditions today after the death of Queen Elizabeth II

On Thursday, 8th September 2022, Queen Elizabeth, queen of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales died at the ripe old age of 96. At the time of her death, the Queen was also the head of state to 15 Commonwealth realms: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

During her 70-year reign as Monarch and Sovereign, 33 countries broke away from her rule and became Independent Republics. One of these countries being South Africa which broke away in the first year of her reign in 1952.

Being the head of state to 15 nations for 70 years came with its challenges for the Queen who due to old age over the past decade, was unable to undertake visits to the outer realms of her Kingdom.

In 2014, 8 years ago Scotland called a referendum to ask its people if the country should break away and become an independent republic. Fortunately for the Queen, the people chose to stay subjects to the Sovereign.

Over the years, the Royal family under the Queen saw many scandals, 3 of her 4 children divorced their partners one of which was Princess Diana who died in 1998 in a motor vehicle accident in Paris after being chased by Paparazzi.

The Queen succeeded to the throne in 1952 after the death of her father whilst she and Prince Phillip were on an official state visit in Kenya. When she eventually died a few days ago at the age of 96, she had outlived her generation within her immediate family. The Queen lost both her mother and her sister Margaret in 2002.

Of late, the elderly Queen experienced more heartache with the death of her loving husband, Prince Phillip in 2021. Just prior to this also saw one of her favorite grandchildren, Prince Harry and wife Megan who is of African American decent, leave the Royal firm and move to America after allegations of racism in the family.

2021 was also a year that placed a dark cloud over the Royal Family after it was disclosed that Prince Andrew had been involved with the known sex trafficker of underage girls, Jeffrey Epstein. It was also discovered that Prince Andrew stayed over at his lavish homes where this elicit activity was being perpetrated. Due to this and after being forced by the then Prince Charles and Prince William, the Queen stripped the prince of all his military titles and reassigned all of his duties and forced him to step back as a Royal.

Today, the Queen is no more and her thrown is now occupied by a King, her son King Charles the third. As she lie in state at the Westminster Hall in London, we reflect on her life as a Monarch, Head of State and Leader, we are touched to see the tears of her almost 1 million people who braved the London weather to come out to pay respect to her. This is indeed a showing that, the Queen was loved by her people.

Being a South African with almost no ties to England or allegiance to the British Royals, I needed to unpack what I was feeling. Yes, this lady was just like her son now is, a representative of a Colonial past of slavery, theft and inequality, though an apology was rendered for the slavery part a few years ago by Charles. Being one of the strongest nations in the world once upon a time, they conquered every continent, enslaved the indigenous people of Africa and India and looted the wealth of many countries. The Star of Africa or the Cullinan Diamond being a perfect example. This is the biggest diamond ever mined and was found in South Africa and taken by the British for the Crown Jewels. The diamond was eventually broken into fractures and set into various parts of the crown jewels the biggest being in the Imperial State Crown and the Scepter.

Now although we know all this, it was still sad to learn of her death as Queen. I was born in 1975 and grew up knowing only one queen, Queen Elizabeth II and one royal family. She will sorely be missed by her people from around the world, and I as many will not officially mourn her death, it is however sad that she has died. Queen Elizabeth has been the constant, she outlived all of the South African Apartheid Presidents, saw the birth of South African Democracy under Nelson Mandela, saw and managed 15 British Prime Ministers, met with 13 American Presidents and just this year celebrated her Platinum Jubilee as the longest reining British Monarch in history.

Queen Elizabeth II might not have had power as far as state was concerned, but she was respected by world leaders from around the world. Because of this, I might not agree with this outdated Royal family staying in power, but I do admit that with her death, comes the close of an era of change for the world.

At the start of her reign, Elizabeth helped the world recover from World War 2. During her reign, the world experienced the industrial, technological and information ages. Her troops fought in her name in the Falklands War, Iraqi War and Afghan War. She saw and supported the end of Apartheid in South Africa and the end of systemic racism in America due to the Civil Rights Movement.

Under her reign, she saw the rise and fall of the Cold War, where Russia moved away from it’s Soviet Socialist Movement to a Democracy. This also saw the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Queen lived through the era of Lenin, Stalin and even saw the final Soviet Leader, Michael Gorbachev’s death only 2 weeks before she herself died.

In her last 2 days before she died, she bid farewell to her fourteenth Prime Minister Boris Johnson and welcomed her 15th, Lizz Truss which was captured as her final photo before she died. It was clear from the photo that the Queen was not well, she had become a small frail old lady who needed constant care.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Queen’s family and all the people who she reigned over. She might not have been my Queen, but her face and name was a constant for 70 years for most of the world’s youth and adult population. The question we ask, now that the Queen is no longer, is there still a purpose for the traditions and pomp and ceremony, is there a need for royalty that seem to be stuck in ancient and medieval beliefs and times. One thing is for sure, if the hocus pocus of Royalty is abolished, they will be admitted to the history books where they belong.