London Bridge is down.
It was with painful remorse earlier this month that we learned of the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
There is no individual, past nor present, whom I have admired and looked up to more. Ascending to the Throne at age 25, having never been intended for it, she grew to become the longest serving female head-of-state in world history and the longest serving monarch in our Commonwealth. Her Majesty served as a mechanic in World War II; reigned over fifteen British prime ministers; addressed the U.S. Congress; travelled tens of thousands of kilometres; 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 4,000 acts of parliament, and served as a constant beacon of grace, joy, and civility around the world.
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 most extraordinary.
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. Over her 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II upheld the Crown, uncompromisingly, with dignity, always putting the institution 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.
It is with immense sadness that we say goodbye. 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
MLA for Banff-Kananaskis