I am not a royalist, but I loved Queen Elizabeth II. She was born four years before my mother, and outlived so many of her contemporaries. As Presidents and Prime Ministers came and went, she stayed. As crises rocked the world, she remained steadfast. She seemed like a fixed point that was always there, no matter how everything spun out of control. She gave no interviews, was involved in almost no scandal, and she devoted her life to her country, as she had promised many years prior.
Sure, she had money and castles and was high born. But she never had any privacy and had to spend her days doing things most of us would find endlessly boring – looking interested during your tenth boring speech of the day, cutting ribbons at sewage works, long-winded dinners. She seemed to just plod onwards, doing a job she was not born to do, and which she probably did not want in the first place. She was still working 31 years after the official retirement age.
I am half-German and half-Irish, and was born in what was then a British colony, so my relationship to the British system has always been extremely complicated. I did really love the Queen though, and was very sad when she passed on. Being Catholic (though I have not practised for many years), I think pomp, ceremony and rituals can be a comfort in tough times.
These are my favourite images of the past 12 days