EFE - BRITAIN ROYALTY - ACE - CUSTOMS & TRADITIONS - FMA001. London (United Kingdom), 15/06/2013.- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives to Horse Guards Parade for the Trooping the Colour ceremony in London, Britain, 15 June 2013. Trooping the Colour is a ceremony to honour the Queen's official birthday. EFE/EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA BRITAIN ROYALTY - LONDON - United Kingdom - FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA - FA BL | EFE

On September 8, 2022, a dark cloud hung over the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms when it was officially announced at 6.30pm that the Queen had died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. She was the longest-living and longest-reigning British Monarch. Aged 96 years at her death, she had served 70 years as the queen. Many people of my age have not known any other British Monarch except Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Besides being the Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms, she also occupied the role of being the Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. “At her Coronation in 1953, The Queen was anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and took an oath to "maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England"” (https://www.royal.uk/queen-and-church).

There are many lessons to be drawn from her seventy years of servant leadership. Firstly, she was a family person having married Philip Mountbatten, born a Prince of Greece and Denmark, on 20th November 1947 in Westminster Abbey. Together with her husband she enjoyed 73 years of marriage and family life. She has left a legacy of a stable marriage life, a thing which is difficult to achieve these days given the rate of divorce cases. Secondly, she was a mother figure. In her marriage she was blessed with four children, eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren. Thirdly, she was a woman of faith and sometimes it is difficult to balance royal duties and personal faith but that was not the case with Her Late Majesty. “Throughout her life she consistently spoke of her Christian faith and how the example and teachings of Jesus strengthened and inspired her in her personal life and public duties.” (Diocese of Birmingham). This is what she had to say in her Christmas Message of 2000.

"For me the teachings of Christ and my personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ's words and example. I believe that the Christian message, in the words of a familiar blessing, remains profoundly important to us all:

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'Go forth into the world in peace,
be of good courage,
hold fast that which is good,
render to no man evil for evil,
strengthen the faint-hearted,
support the weak,
help the afflicted,
honour all men.'

It is a simple message of compassion - and yet as powerful as ever today, 2,000 years after Christ's birth." (Diocese of Birmingham). Fourthly, she was committed to the empowerment of the less privileged in the community. This is testified by her commitment to be the patron of over 600 charity organizations. Lastly, she had passion for the conservation of wildlife and environment. No one would be committed to all these responsibilities on top of royal duties. It can only be achieved through humility and sacrificial leadership and such it was with the queen. What words can summarize the legacy left by Her Majesty?

The words of Paul to Timothy are befitting for the legacy of such a servant of God, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)” Rest in Eternal Peace the servant of God and may your legacy continue to inspire us as we soldier on with the journey of life. The Anglican Chaplaincy of St Philip and St James hosted a Commemoration service for Her Majesty on Sunday the September 18.

Gracious God, we give thanks for the life of your servant Queen Elizabeth, for her faith and her dedication to duty. Bless our nation as we mourn her death and may her example continue to inspire us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.