There can have been few people who, on hearing of the Queen’s admission to hospital, did not feel concern for her well-being, for she is much loved.
Because of her age it is inevitable that the likelihood of ill-health will increase for her, but her life hitherto of robust strength has made her seem, for now, immortal, and there have been comfortable predictions that she will celebrate another jubilee in ten years’ time. Hopefully, if she is well and willing, this will be so.
The older she gets the more important she gets – important to the people all over the world for whom she is the monarch, and also to others in countries unconnected, officially, to her. She is an anchor of stability, representing a constant in our lives rather like the sun coming up every day, and is a bridge between a nostalgic past and an uncertain present: for most of us she has always been part of our lives, and life without her is almost unimaginable, though of course, one day, it will come, and when it does we will mourn her and then life will go on with a new royal figurehead.
Britain is fortunate in that, unlike other certain European royal families, the Queen’s heirs seem honourable and committed to serving their country, as she is, and the future of the monarchy itself is unlikely to be questioned under King Charles or King William, if the world is as it is today. The reaction of concern for the Queen’s health is not because of doubts about the future Windsor dynasty but in part to do with a background fear for ourselves and our own future; most of us have never met her but her quiet leadership and wisdom and her heartfelt commitment to her duty have touched us nonetheless, and whatever the virtues of Prince Charles, we know we are unlikely to see a leader of integrity like her again. The anchor of stability will be lifted and we will be in new seas, the lighthouse dimmed and anything could happen.
And a Queen who was respected for many years is now also loved, with appreciation for what she has done for us selflessly all her life and also for who she is as a person. The good wishes for her recovery will be many and powerful, and their strength, hopefully, will help her heal well.
A recording of her interview on BBC WM’s Faith Programme, and the whole programme, yesterday can be heard here.