A peaceful quietness greeted us this Sunday morning as Ed, my husband, and I began our 45 mile cycle ride part road, part gravel in the county of Essex, UK where we live. It seemed to reflect the mood of the county and country as we continue to mourn the loss of our beloved Queen Elizabeth II the day before her funeral.
As we ventured off road, the absence of much traffic amplified the noise of our tyres on the gravel or the popping of acorns as we cycled through wooded areas. When we came once more into the open, the only traffic we saw was that of the tractors ploughing the fields close by and in the distance. As I witnessed the recently ploughed fields following a rich harvest, now being laid to rest, I thought of our Queen lying in rest, for us to all to pay our tributes and offer our heart felt thanks for a ‘life well lived’ as described by her son, now King Charles III.
This past week has been an extraordinary time in our history, where we witnessed a new Prime Minister, mourned the loss of our head of state and welcomed in a new King, matching no other time in our history.
Our Queen, is an example to behold; a life of service to her people, extending her care, compassion and grace to us all. Her values revealed themselves constantly and continually. She brought us hope when we felt despair. She encouraged us when we felt weak. She unified us when we felt a sense of separation. Her many words of wisdom inspire us to become better.
“It is through this lens of history that we should view the conflicts of today, and so give us hope for tomorrow.”
The tributes and testimonies shared by so many people here and from around the globe have been overwhelming in echoing her leadership as a deep listener, strategic thinker and warmth making others feel comfortable and appreciated for who they are as well as what they had accomplished. Some might say, she was a natural ‘Thinking Environment’ for those she encountered. Being a sacred space for them to think as themselves and for themselves in the presence of her deep listening, free from interruption and judgement with an encouragement to go to the edge of their thinking. Her warm smile, her unparalleled attention, her deep interest in them as a human being, her willingness to learn and celebrate the difference and diversity of thought and lived experiences.
“We may hold different points of view but it is in times of stress and difficulty that we most need to remember that we have much more in common than there is dividing us.”
We have much to be grateful for, by her example. Her honouring the dignity of those she encountered. The grace she afforded others with whose values and views she may not have subscribed to. The interest she held in the lives of others making them feel they mattered. The appreciation she regularly spoke of to individuals from the many organisations, charities and teams she met. Her commitment to her family and to the wider family of the lands she devoted her service to. Some might say she was the very epitome of a ‘Truly Human Leader’.
“Our modern world places such heavy demands on our time and attention that the need to remember our responsibilities to others is greater than ever.”
Once more we are united across the lands in our grief and celebration of her life. Her thoughtfulness and care continues past her death as she paved the way for King Charles to pursue his destiny with his Queen Consort by his side. For creating the most access by her people as she journeys through the UK and rests in State before her final place of rest.
May she ‘rest in peace and rise in glory’ as remarked by Arch Bishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
As we navigated the differing terrains on our cycle ride this morning, my thoughts were awash with our Queen and her family as they prepare for her state funeral tomorrow. As I reflected, I was reminded of and immensely grateful for her virtues, values and visible leadership as example for us to behold.
“I know of no single formula for success, but over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal, and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration, to work together.”
Thank you for listening!