On the 6th of February 1952 I was listening to the radio. Suddenly the programme was interrupted by a BBC announcer, solemnly declaring ‘The King is dead, Long live the Queen.’ It was one of the most impactful memories of my early childhood. I was eight years of age. The much-loved King George VI, who had called the nation to prayer in the darkest of days and led the nation safely through the Second World War, had died in his sleep.
On the 8th September 2022, after an afternoon of uncertainty about the Queen’s health, the BBC announcer told the nation that the Queen had passed away peacefully at Balmoral. Our beloved Queen had died.
As I write, the tributes are pouring in from around the globe to a Sovereign who had not only remained utterly faithful to her destiny as Queen, but also to the God she served so faithfully throughout her life. It was only last month, on the 3rd August 2022 that she said, “Throughout my life, the message and teachings of Christ have been my guide and in them I find hope.” And in her many Christmas messages to the nation and the Commonwealth, she rarely failed to testify to her love and faith in Jesus, the Child of Bethlehem. “For me,” she said, “the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace is an inspiration and an anchor in my life.”
Yesterday her hope was finally realised as her Saviour took her home. Her anchor in the rock of Jesus Christ is secure for eternity. As news of her passing spread, the flag over her home at Windsor Castle was lowered to half-mast, and simultaneously an extraordinary and brilliant rainbow lit up the darkening sky – surely, an amazing sign of God’s covenant love for his daughter, now receiving her “Well done, good and faithful servant” from the King of all Kings!
For many years, believers have been praying the words from our national anthem over the Queen – “God save our gracious Queen – Long may she reign over us” – knowing that her presence and her faith have provided a godly covering over the nation and a godly example to her people. God heard and answered those prayers for all of her 96 years. How extraordinary that she was still serving the nation until the day before her final decline. On Tuesday the 6th September, she invited Liz Truss to form a new Government as Prime Minister. My prayer is that this final act of her reign at Balmoral Castle, will be an inspiration to the new Prime Minister and that the Queen’s godliness will be an abiding influence on her premiership.
As the people both mourn the loss of the Queen and welcome King Charles III as their Monarch, let us renew our prayers for Charles, that in his reign as King he will not forget how the presence and power of God were the driving force at the heart of his mother’s life. We do indeed pray most fervently that God will save the King!