September 29, 2022

So the day has come. A day of mourning and sorrow. But also of hope.

It is estimated that about four billion people will tune in to the Queen’s funeral. Tens of millions of Brits will watch the proceedings at Westminster Abbey, the procession and the engagement in Windsor.

Its splendor will move countless hearts. This is a state affair, likely to surpass Winston Churchill’s 1965 funeral in solemnity and splendor. But it is also a Christian service to a deeply Christian monarch.

Who could have dreamed less than a fortnight ago that it would end like this? For it seems to me that in the days after Queen Elizabeth’s death one myth after another has exploded.

Instead, watch the tens of thousands who waited up to 20 hours to catch a fleeting glimpse of the Queen’s casket at Westminster Hall. How often are such people considered by elites adept at making sense of our national narrative?

Today, the generally accepted wisdom that Britain is an entirely secular country will be questioned. Even people who do not consider themselves religious may feel touched by the sacred and divine.

respect

The myth that people don’t have time for pageantry in a utilitarian age is also discredited. The processions, music, uniforms and painstaking marches have helped us reconnect with a largely forgotten past and revive our sense of nationhood.

How they have to grit their teeth in the progressive kingdoms of our country! There will be gloomy faces in parts of the BBC (although our state broadcaster has given excellent coverage almost in spite of itself), in many of our universities, in illuminated newspapers and in Corbynista strongholds. It was not meant like that.

Another commonplace proclaimed by our largely left-wing intelligentsia is that post-imperial Britain is a small island, made even more irrelevant by the alleged idiocy of Brexit. That bias has also been routed through the events of the past few days.

Would four billion people — or whatever the number be — interrupt their routines to watch the funeral of the monarch of an insignificant country, no matter how special and long-lived she was? I do not think so.

Look at the presidents, monarchs, prime ministers and emperors who flew in from all corners of the globe for today’s funeral. Of course they honor the Queen, but they also recognize the importance of the country she ruled over.

I don’t mean to sound vain, but I don’t believe that the death of a prominent monarch in another European country – and there are several – would attract such a huge crowd of respectful leaders.

Another piece of accepted wisdom thrown down our throats is that the UK is inevitably breaking. Here I will be careful because I certainly do not believe that the death of the Queen has miraculously restored old ties that Westminster and other politicians have done much to loosen.

But the mourning in all four nations of the Kingdom was genuine. In Scotland, which is said to be on an inexorable path to independence, the Queen’s death was felt just as deeply as it was in England.

In most of Scotland, the Queen was apparently considered their sovereign, not an importer from the south of the border. This is, of course, correct, as the union of the two crowns is more than 100 years older than the political union of the two countries.

Admittedly, there have been a few discordant voices. There was a bit of anti-monarchist booing among Dundee United fans on Saturday during a football game against Rangers, a team considered a staunch trade unionist.

Yesterday, some Celtic fans (whose club is often identified with Irish republicanism) unveiled a banner insulting the royal family ahead of a Scottish Premiership game against St Mirren. There are criminals and villains everywhere.

The fact remains that the monarchy is an institution that remains truly British. It has tremendous power to keep us together, despite the efforts of Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, among others, to tear us apart. I’m sure King Charles understands this very well.

No, what has happened in recent days makes me suspect that Britain is not the irrevocably broken, shabby little country its staunch, hanging opponents would have us believe. Unfortunately, some sane people may have been influenced by this misrepresentation against their better judgement.

Instead, watch the tens of thousands who waited up to 20 hours to catch a fleeting glimpse of the Queen’s casket at Westminster Hall. How often are such people considered by elites adept at making sense of our national narrative?

patriotic

No doubt there were tourists and others in what was arguably the longest line in the world who wanted to be there as history was made, and good luck to them.

But I suspect most of them were patriotic Britons of all ages and from many different communities, united in their love for the Queen and their respect for the monarchy. I noticed that many were crossing as they passed the coffin.

As I mentioned, enlightened types may have been quietly swearing for the past ten days – for the most part too wary of expressing their disgust on the national stage just now – because events have challenged their version of Britain.

They will, of course, come back with their vociferous certainties once today’s poignant scenes are over and begin to fade from the public eye. But will they be that powerful in the near future?

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There is one final myth that I believe will be undermined by the Queen’s funeral and service at Windsor. This is that we live in a completely godless society. Admittedly, it is not a belief limited to the progressive intelligentsia.

Much has been written about the Queen’s sense of duty in recent days. What may have been partially missed is the source of her lifelong service. To her it was undoubtedly God.

Mourning

This is what the Queen said in a Christmas broadcast, and it was certainly written by her own hand: “For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal responsibility before God provide a framework within which I try to live my life.”

Some critics may scoff at the idea that a hugely rich woman with several palaces at her disposal could actually follow the teachings of Jesus, who said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man. to enter the kingdom of heaven.

But she could, and she did, because she was not spoiled by great riches, which I think was the danger Christ warned of. She used her worldly position to accomplish the myriad “little acts of goodness” she referred to in another Christmas message.

She was fallible and human, of course she was, but she wanted to live the Christian life. And that, I hope, will be what she’ll be handing over at her funeral today. My own grief will be tempered in part by the thought that such a pious person could have had little fear of death.

Tomorrow is another day. Life will seem to return to its raw self.

But in more ways than one, Queen Elizabeth’s death has taught us to look at ourselves differently.