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DONNIE JOHNSTON: A lady in every sense of the word

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AS AN ENGLISH speaking nation born of the Crown, it is altogether fitting and proper that we should properly mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

But we don’t do this simply because she was the queen of our mother country, but also because of the character of this lovely lady who earned our respect and admiration.

And Elizabeth was indeed a lady—in every sense of the word. If ever a woman had class, it was her. Through the trials and tribulations of her children and grandchildren, she persevered and upheld the dignity of her position. She was a queen among queens.

Today’s generation may not know it, but Elizabeth, as a teenager, gave speeches to lift the morale of the English people during World War II. She never shied away from her royal responsibilities, either as a princess or as queen. She was always there for England.

She exemplified grace and dignity as a daughter, a wife, a mother and a grandmother, not to mention her position on the throne. From the beginning of adulthood, she carried herself like a lady and maintained her character through both government and family crises.

She made very few public statements but chose her words carefully when she did. In all things she kept a positive attitude, at least on the outside, and negative comments, if ever she made any, were few and far between.

Who could dislike Elizabeth? With her hat cocked at just the right tilt and her handbag on her arm, she was everyone’s rich old aunt who lived in the city and brought well-chosen gifts when she came to visit. And when you went to her house you could sit demurely on her lap but not on the furniture, although she would never have reprimanded you for doing so.

With England’s longest-serving monarch now gone, there is talk of possibly doing away with the monarchy, which some say has outlived its usefulness. After all, Great Britain’s kings and queens are there only for show these days. Parliament and the prime minister actually run the country.

That would be sad, because the monarchy is a symbol of England’s history, one that has been around for almost 1,000 years. It is also part of America’s history. Virginia is named for Elizabeth I, the James River for King James and King George County is named, of course, for King George.

Who cares if the king or queen gets paid for doing nothing? The person on the throne represents England and its history. The crown is a symbol of the Mother Country’s past. But then we live in an era where some would do away with all history. We shall see what happens.

Now Britain moves from Queen Elizabeth to King Charles, with Queen Camilla at his side. Oh, that it had been Diana is the wish of many Brits.

But that is another scandal with which Elizabeth had to deal. And, as always, she did so with dignity.

England without Queen Elizabeth will take some getting used to. Charles with a flowered hat and a handbag on his arm just won’t cut it.

But all things must end, and England must move on. Brits no longer have their beloved queen, but five generations will keep her memory until their dying day.

Elizabeth was an extraordinary woman who brought grace and dignity to the throne of England. Neither her integrity nor her love for her country could ever be questioned. Through every crisis, she remained a lady who always seemed to be in control. She shall be missed by all.

But life in England must go on. The Queen is dead. Long live the King.

Donnie Johnston:

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