We have barely begun our period of mourning and our grief is raw. There is some comfort to be had.
So many words have been spoken and shared over the last few days, since the sad loss of Her Majesty the Queen last Thursday.
A huge question now looms in my consciousness, and likely that of many others. How can life continue, now that she is gone? How can I, and others, come to terms with the absence of the only Monarch and Head of State many of us have ever known?
Her abrupt passing was hardly unexpected but I, like many others, have been shocked by the intensity of my feelings of loss, emptiness and of an enormous void suddenly opening up in my own life and that of millions of others around the world.
Of all the words I’ve heard, three have stood out for me ‘continuity is king’. I can’t even recall who I heard utter it, and when, in the emotional roller coaster of the last couple of days. But it is perhaps the thing that has resounded with me the most.
As a country, the United Kingdom is a fortunate one. Our constitution prevents any vacuum of power and leadership being created when our monarch dies. In the modern context, the line of accession to the throne is clear and well understood and the informal transfer of authority is instantaneous. We enjoy the benefits of an immediate continuity which is absent in so many other parts of the world.
In some ways I have been shocked by the almost brutal rapidity of the passing of authority from Her Majesty to His Majesty. And, of the sudden shift in titles and conventions of address from Queen to King. It feels that there has been little private time for those who were closest to the Queen to grieve and reflect, let alone the rest of us. It has made some of leadership changes I have witnessed in my career, in the organisations where I have worked, feel almost pedestrian and lackadaisical. No drawn-out transition, no tortuous handover or overlap, no gap in leadership and the organisational paralysis and chaos this sometimes causes.
As an internal communicator I know all too well, that change is sometimes hard for people to come to terms with, so my feelings of sudden shell shock shouldn’t really come as a surprise. But, against the backdrop of a such a huge sense of loss and emotion, this change will be a particularly tough one to assimilate as the second Elizabethan age ends and the third Carolean begins.
As I write this, it is less than 48 hours since Queen Elizabeth II passed away. We have barely begun our period of mourning and our grief is raw. If there is any comfort to be had, it is that the machinery of state has quickly assured us a continuity that is absent in so many other aspects of our personal, national and working lives. The Accession Council has met and completed its business, our ancient traditions have been exercised and the formal proclamations of the transfer of power have been made.
The reassuring constant, presence and reference point provided by the monarchy is still there, even though it is now embodied by another.
Continuity is now King.
Rest in peace Elizabeth R.
God Save the King.
Image by дмитрий1511 from Pixabay