The appreciation and sense of loss following the passing of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch is visibly shared by most of the British public and was very evident in our recent trip to Sandringham.
Queen Elizabeth II has been consistently the most popular member of the royal family. For those older than 65 there is almost universal positivity for a monarch that has been a reliable, resilient, industrious and a reassuring point of continuity for more than 70 years.
As you would expect support for Charles has increased in recent days. I would assume the ranks of those in favour of retaining a monarchy will have swelled a little in recent days as the ceremony and collective grief has been absorbed. Ultimately, however, the future strength of the royal ‘firm’ will depend heavily on the conduct of Charles (with the interpretation of a younger generation becoming much more important). But let’s not worry about that now.
The loss of a globally respected monarch, the ceremony with attentive detail, the elaborate military-led funeral procession, the jovial queuing across London and, far above all, the scale of the shared public response has projected a positive and dignified image of Britain.
Over a week, many of us have participated in a collective experience that has reaffirmed our humanity and enduring values. I confess I feel a little warmer and more confident in our ability to unite for the challenges ahead. Thank you Ma’am.