It was with grief and sadness that we learned of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's passing on September 8, 2022. Never in our past has there been, nor in our future will there be, anyone like our Queen. For 70 years Her smile warmed our homes, Her compassion touched our hearts, and Her words spoke hope into even the most difficult of times. She brought the Crown out of Buckingham Palace and into our living rooms, connecting millions around the world in a way that only she could. So many of us, myself included, felt as though we knew Her; as though we had a personal relationship with Her from miles away.
Ascending to the Throne at just age 25, having never been intended for it by Royal lineage, she grew to become the longest serving monarch in our Commonwealth and the longest serving female head-of-state in world history.
Her Majesty served as a mechanic in WWII; studied constitutional law; reigned over fifteen British Prime Ministers, the first of whom was born in the 1800s; addressed the US Congress, and remains the first and only Monarch to ever do so; travelled tens of thousands of kms on official business; drove the Saudi King at a time when it was still a punishable offence for women to drive at all in his home country, and participated in high level tactical and political conversations with some of the most iconic leaders of our lifetime. She held over 50 ranks in the British military; gave assent to over 4000 acts of parliament, and served as a constant beacon of grace, joy, and civility, and consistency during the most rapidly evolving political and technological period in world history. In 2022, much of this may seem ordinary, but when put in the context of being a woman thrust into public service at such a young age in the mid-1900s, it is extraordinary. Known for Her quick wit and for always being one of the most well researched conversationalists in any room, Queen Elizabeth II dutifully earned Her title as Canada’s Head of State.
Having such a figure of grace and stability as our Sovereign is something many of us may have taken for granted over the years. The beauty of the institution that is the Crown is that our people and our democratic institutions, to this day, are silently bound by a respect for our history, a loyalty to our nation, and a duty to uphold a common foundation of morality. The Crown is not only Head of State, but it is synonymously Head of the Church, which although largely symbolic today, quietly instills in our governments, our justice system, and us, a basic set of morals that are not similarly found in the American Republic, which is guided by politics and populism of the day. The Crown transcends politics, allowing us quietly, even perhaps subconsciously, the freedom to govern ourselves by justice and virtue rather than by public approval. We may not always realize it, but under Queen Elizabeth II's grace and discipline, the Crown profoundly bound us to each other through a love and recognition for who we are, and where we come from.
Over Her 70 years on the Throne, Queen Elizabeth II upheld the Crown, uncompromisingly, with dignity - always putting the institution, our traditions, and the preservation of our way of life ahead of Herself and Her family, no matter the personal cost. The fact that she took the
time to meet with Britain's new Prime Minister in the final 48 hours of Her life is the most
perfect and beautiful exemplification of Her lifelong, unwavering commitment to duty.
Her Majesty’s passing is now an opportunity for us to reflect not only on the woman who was,
but on the importance of renewing our respect for the “unifying influence” of the institution
that granted our country life. During Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Alberta in 2005, speaking in
our Legislature, she stated that she wished for the Crown in Canada to represent everything
that is best and most admired in the Canadian ideal. I would suggest that throughout Her reign, Her majesty accomplished that and so much more.
While the face of the Monarchy has now changed, the tenants of what it represents, and its
silent role in our society, has not. It is with immense sadness that we say goodbye to Queen
Elizabeth II. Our world will unquestionably never be the same without Her, but it is also
unquestionably a better place because of Her.
Long live the King.