Queen Elizabeth II was pictured standing and smiling as she performed the constitutional duty of inviting a new Prime Minister to form a government just two days ago, a testament to her lifelong dedication to serving the nation until the very end.
The United Kingdom has had a tumultuous week, having a new King, Prime Minister, and government in just two days. Without doubt Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Thursday aged 96 will be judged by the way she lived up to the vow she made to her country in 1947, five years before she ascended the throne.
On her 21st birthday, the then Princess Elizabeth made a speech by radio to the Commonwealth when she said the famous words:
I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
That she lived up to that promise was well illustrated that, eschewing the easier alternatives of deputising or even video conferencing despite her clearly frail health, the Queen personally undertook essential constitutional duties on Tuesday during an important transitory moment in the political life of the nation.
The personal embodiment of the state as monarch, the Queen accepted the resignation from former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, before inviting Liz Truss — who had become the leader of Britain’s largest political party the day before — to form a new government and become her Prime Minister shortly afterwards.
In all other 14 cases of this happening in the Queen’s 70 year reign this process took place at Buckingham Palace in London, but the Queen was at her home in Scotland in northern Britain and it was deemed she was too frail to travel, so the politicians travelled to her.
While it is obviously clear now, with the Queen’s passing, that she was not well, Elizabeth II was nevertheless photographed at the occasion standing with a stick, smiling, and shaking the hand of the new leader of the British government.
While the vast majority in public service and without would have rightly retired decades before their 96th birthday, the Queen continued to undertake public engagements, albeit fewer in number in recent years. As promised, the Queen has indeed devoted her “whole life” to service.