THE first anniversary of the death of the Queen — it’s still hard to refer to her as Elizabeth II — is a sombre moment for us as well as for the King and his family. After a 70-year reign, she was part of the backdrop to our lives, an element of continuity in a rapidly changing world. The values she embodied — of service, duty, reticence and the subordination of self to the wider good — are not entirely those of our age, but looking back on her life, a year after her death, they seem no less valuable than ever.
The striking aspect of the sorrow that followed her death was that it was shared by people across the social, ethnic and generational spectrum. Those who paid tribute to her came from an extraordinary diversity of backgrounds, and they all recognised an authenticity in her ethos of service. She embodied a generation, for she was almost the last of those who served in the crisis of the war years. Now, on her anniversary, it is an opportunity to reflect in gratitude on her life, lived out in obedience to her Christian values, which formed her. She remains inspirational. We mourn her, but we also learned something valuable from her life.
The unique merit of hereditary monarchy is continuity — the King has paid tribute today to his mother and to the love and support he has received from the nation in the year since her death. Today’s service at the church in Balmoral, where his mother worshipped, and that at St David’s in Wales, which the Prince and Princess of Wales attended, was an opportunity for expressing gratitude for the late Queen’s life, and to commit the Royal family to keeping that ethic of service which she embodied. There remain, of course, difficulties for the King — not least his fractured family — but he has preserved that crucial, intangible thing: the support of the nation.
Mobiles on the Tube
THE good news is that 4G connectivity on the Elizabeth line is happening: Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon and Liverpool Street stations will join Transport for London’s mobile data network by Christmas. The even better news is that 80 per cent of the Tube network will be connected by the end of next year. It can’t happen soon enough.
Come on, England
ENGLAND’S form in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup has been awful, but the players remain confident about the opening match against Argentina. Given that they can’t meet any of the top four teams until the semi-finals, the early stages couldn’t be more propitious, despite the toughest pool match coming first. All the more important then to win against the Pumas, who have aspirations of their own. It’s time to back England; anything is possible.