Yesterday, after the world had learned that her family had been called to her side, Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history, died at age 96. It’s simply impossible to articulate just how much the world, Britain, the British Empire, Western civilization, and the monarchy changed during her reign.
Many Americans were fascinated by her and the royal family, as demonstrated in the popularity of shows like The Crown. She seemed to navigate a changing world by not changing, something that at times stabilized and at other times infuriated the British people.
Perhaps the most consistent features of her tenure, which seemed out of step with the modern world, were her sense of duty and her consistent expression of faith and religious observance. Her annual Christmas messages reflected theology that was mostly orthodox and a faith in Jesus Christ that seemed personal. Convinced that Divine Providence had brought her to the throne, she seemed to see the crown as a calling and not an entitlement. In both of these things, her death marks the end of an era.
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