Student Opinion – Queen Elizabeth’s Life and Memory should be celebrated

Hey, did you hear Queen Elizabeth just died?” “No way, what’s your source?” “That can’t be real.” “I have to tell my mom.”

These were the conversations swirling around me Thursday afternoon as I sat in the library finishing last-minute homework. It had to be fake news, didn’t it? Queen Elizabeth couldn’t be gone. “I thought she would live forever. Or maybe I hoped she would,” my mom responded to the report.

I think many of us hoped she would live forever. Queen Elizabeth II has been a monumental world leader for more than three times my life span. She came of age during World War II and was queen through personal and worldwide tragedies, such as the controversial death of her daughter-in-law Princess Diana and the more recent COVID-19 pandemic. 

Americans’ obsession with British royalty manifested itself in the recent series on Netflix entitled “The Crown.” I, along with many of my friends, spent hours reveling in the British royalty fairy tale brought to our lives. In fact, the creators of the show have called it a “love letter” to the queen and have stopped filming out of respect for her.

While deeply imperfect, the royals have garnered worldwide attention, and Queen Elizabeth was the head of it all. 

She will be remembered as one of the most revered world leaders in my time — if not in all of history. She continually handled herself with grace and poise despite the controversies surrounding her family. For generations, she has been viewed not only as the quintessential grandmother but as a woman who cared for her people.

When a celebrity passes away, their memory is often overtaken by the mistakes they made while living. Queen Elizabeth made many mistakes — she was human. But now is not the time to accuse her or focus on those mistakes whether one agrees with everything she did. 

Like most public figures, Queen Elizabeth had to sacrifice much in her private life to present such a pristine public image. She should be honored for that. The challenge for us is to strike a balance between idolizing her memory and vilifying it.

I have been saddened by the response of many who have turned her death into a laughing matter or a meme. While I understand that our generation processes things through dark humor, I had hoped for better. I had hoped that we would treat her with the same respect that she treated those around her. 

Queen Elizabeth went through so much. Imagine having a position, such as queen of England, thrust upon you as young as 26 years old when you had no idea it was coming.

Initially, the position was not in her family line, as her father was King George V’s second son. But when her uncle unexpectedly quit the throne, her father was forced to take on the responsibility. Upon her father’s death in 1952, she was crowned the queen of England. 

She entered the hearts of her people with an endearing speech, “Throughout all my life and with all my heart, I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.” She followed through on this promise, as she held fast to her principles and put the needs of her people first until the very end, welcoming a new prime minister days before her death. 

As the world mourns her death, I plead with you to take this seriously. Please take a moment to reflect on her long and well-lived life. Think about what made it so well-lived and appreciate the stability she brought us all. 

God save the queen. 

Van horn is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion.

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