UK’s Long goodbye to Elizabeth II: Implications and lessons – Denis Mugonza Waggumbulizi

I was in my sitting room watching BBC News on the Thursday evening of 8th September, 2022, when i saw the death announcement of Britain’s longest – reigning monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who died at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle, after reigning for 70 years.

She died peacefully on Thursday afternoon at her Scottish estate, where she had spent much of the summer. The Queen was buried on 19th September, 2022 at King George VI Memorial Chapel. Her son, Charles III acceded to the throne on 8th September, 2022 and is now the King of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms.

Queen Elizabeth’s long years as sovereign were a time of enormous upheaval, in which she sought to project and protect the royal family as a rare bastion of permanence in a world of shifting values. Her death was deeply felt by countless people around the world.

She was also a person of passion and vision. She was far more than the “steady hand” she was often made out to be, tackling change and societal challenges-from economic inequality to racism-with clarity and grace.

She loved the arts and beauty, had a deep understanding of how history forms us, and a unique vision and ability to re-energize Britain and a Commonwealth of Nations carrying deep hurt. She had a twinkle in her eye that spoke of a keen interest in people and an authentic joy.

There was a sense that beneath the pomp and ceremony which characterized her 96 years, Elizabeth II was a real person with real loves, real faith and real hope.

Despite her affectation of simplicity, genuine common touch and cultivation of middle class values and bourgeois solidarity, Elizabeth II was undoubtedly one of the titans of modern history.

It takes a certain combination of charm and good luck to be so famously successful and not to be widely offensive. The late sovereign head of the United Kingdom charmed them all in the original African sense of holding people spellbound.

Those who deliberately did not watch the Queen’s funeral claiming that you have no business with it because they colonized Uganda and exploited Africa in general, sorry you have a reasoning priority problem.

Shouldn’t you be asking yourself how a small island nation that is not so much bigger in size than Uganda came to be master once to the USA, India and China and still has Canada, Australia and New Zealand as their realms?

Weren’t you baffled by their preservation of old buildings and sprawling green fields? Weren’t you perplexed by West minister Hall that is close to a thousand years old? To put that into context, Buganda Kingdom is around 850 years old. Aren’t you moved by the discipline of the crowds?

With the exception of the UN General Assembly and the burial ceremony of President Nelson Madiba Mandela, how many times do you see such a gathering of World leaders like those who attended Elizabeth’s funeral including those who travelled by bus? Have you cared to know their history? The Queen’s coffin six-hour journey to Edinburgh, procession on streets and viewing locations meant a chance for people to mark country’s shared loss but above all the respect for culture.

Love or hate them, the British are something else and like the Roman Catholic Church they know how to stage a show.

One of the lessons Elizabeth’s life offers to the contemporary church and world leaders is a testimony of finishing well. It’s a beautiful thing to watch a leader’s life unfold as hers did, with virtue, dignity, and grace to the end.

At a time when so many leaders-even within the church-do not finish well, their lives and ministries tainted by sin and scandal, Elizabeth’s well-run race reminds us to hold fast in faithfulness.

UK’s long goodbye to Elizabeth II leaves us with a lesson to treasure culture and norms. We should stop thinking that culture and norms are for the illiterate and primitive. Culture and norms is tourism, money and a treasure. What awaits King Charles III now is to project and protect the culture of United Kingdom which her late mother, Queen Elizabeth II protected for 70 years.

Rest in Peace, Queen Elizabeth. God bless the, King.

Denis Mugonza Waggumbulizi By | Advocate, Researcher & Entrepreneur

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