I am rarely at a loss for words, especially when it comes to my writing but as of late I have found myself struggling for them. Ever since Thursday the 8th of September 2022 at around 19:30 CET, whilst I was watching my beloved Arsenal Football Club as they in played their first Europa League group of the season against FC Zurich. When, all of a sudden my phone buzzed with an alert from my Twitter feed delivering the news that I had feared yet expected, the world had been informed that day that her majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second was ill and her family were en route to balmoral en mass to be at her side. The notification was from The Royal Family’s Twitter feed informing the world of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second of that name, and it's a moment that I will personally never forget.
I had gone to Trinity’s Irish Pub in Monaco, to watch this game and ended up watching it with two Dutch men and another English man, the four of us hadn’t met each other before. But we were all Arsenal fans and were bought together by our love of our team and the game. That Twitter notification at the end of the first half changed everything. The mood that had been up until that moment joyous and full of banter and of course her majesty’s well-being was in the back of our minds. With Arsenal up 1–0, a few pints to the good, having had a fish and chips dinner and surrounded by good company. That simple Twitter post changed the whole mood of the company I was with. As we all felt her loss deeply more so than any of us had expected to, as we mourned the loss of a woman who throughout our lives had been a constant.
It was at this moment that I went up to the live band, to inform them of her majesty’s passing, and requested a moment of silence in her honour. To my surprise, they handed me the microphone and asked me to announce it to the bar over the speakers, which I did without hesitation. There my three new friends, the bartender Brendan, the two musicians and I shared a very sombre minute of silence, as we all reflected on the passing of someone very dear to all our hearts. As the band started singing Elton John’s “Candle In The Wind” they followed up with Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” fitting the mood perfectly, bringing us all to the verge of tears.
As we reflected on her life of putting her duty to her nation first and foremost, it was a very touching moment for all of us. It’s very hard to think of anyone who has impacted the world to the same level that she has. She was a symbol of what it meant to put duty above all else. I can’t think of another figure who in recent history kept the promise that she made to the then-British Empire when she first came to the throne and was crowned Queen, that she would dedicate her whole life no matter its length to her people at just the age of 21. At an age when most of us are still trying to figure our lives out, she had the weight of the world put on her shoulders at such a young age. I don’t know how she managed to find time for a personal life but she clearly did.
It was this conversation that we all had as we ordered a round of Johnnie Walker Black Label for the four of us and Brendan of course. We all then raised our glasses in her honour and drank in her memory. That one glass of whiskey is the one I will never forget. As I write this entry months after her passing I can still recall it all in intimate detail.
I have taken this time to properly consider her life and the legacy she left behind and to properly get my thoughts in line. I was reminded of her constant devotion to duty and her stoic approach to life through Ryan Holiday’s book “Discipline is Destiny”. Much to my surprise he speaks about her majesty and refers to her throughout this books on stoic philosophy. There are many great stories about her character and how she approached life but one of my favourites is that whilst she was on an official visit she was being accompanied by a military general who was apparently a bit tired and she noticed. Her Majesty asked him “are you, tired general?” this clearly woke him from his stupor by her replying quickly “no ma'am” to which the Queen responded, “then take your hands out your pockets and stand up straight”. One can only imagine his reaction to this disciplining likely he would have stood up straight as a rod whilst his hands shot from his pockets to his sides. Through his books, I have been reminded of the person that the Queen was and the strength of character she had.
I am going to end this dedication to the memory of the late and great Queen Elizabeth the Second here. She was a bright light in a world where so much darkness exists and she has gone to be with her Phillip and she can now rest in peace. I said to many people she was like a grandmother to us all, I will miss her words of encouragement in her yearly Christmas speeches. The mark she left on the world cannot be overstated, nor can we ever be allowed to forget the importance of her life. What she went through and how she made people feel, no matter their origin whilst still devoting herself to her family. Thank you for everything, your Majesty, you will be missed please now mam enjoy your well-deserved peace.