My Column: End Of An Era

Today my thoughts are with Her Royal Highness Elizabeth 2 and her family.
An era has ended in British history.
She was the monarch of United Kingdom, figure head of commonwealth countries, and represented what was the best in British culture and traditions; tightly upper lipped, never complained or explained. Disciplined and dedicated to her duty and very grounded also. These were the qualities which kept her a favourite monarch, a loving mother and a lovable and valuable enigma to us all, who watched her often on television only and read about her in books and newspapers.
Though, I remember seeing her in Varanasi, India, in 1961 when she visited the city. It was a hazy, breezy and beautiful day. She was on Bazra and we standing on the Ghat. But only thing I remember of that day was that her silk organza sea-green dress flowing in the backdrop of floating clouds and flowing waves of Ganges was looking very beautiful indeed. That coordination of colours was almost like a beautiful painting. Mesmerised, I said how can everything fall together so beautifully?
Father smiled and replied, lot of thought goes behind these events. These dignitaries have personal assistance and advisers choosing the colour and dress on any occasion for them.
It was a big lesson for a growing up thirteen-years old lady. From that day onward I never pulled out a dress to wear without thinking of weather and occasion first. Never just on a whim whatever I wanted to wear or in whatever colour.
This was my first memory and everlasting one of Her Majesty the Queen.
Then six-seven year later I came to UK and fate made this country my permanent home. Got another opportunity to welcome queen in Birmingham Townhall in 1980’s when Julia Mills then ex-mayor of Sutton-Coldfield asked me to join her eight in the morning as a reception team. But I couldn’t as my duties lied with my family first. My children were young then and I their only caretaker. They all needed to be fed and made ready for a comfortable day at school.
Early morning timing was disappointing for me and my refusal to Julia. After that I saw her on Television only. She was there as a permanent fixture for more than last fifty years and I thought she will always remain so, till yesterday, when there was a flash of news around 3’o clock in the afternoon-All queens four children are on their way to meet mother. Queen’s health is cause for concern to the doctors who are keeping a close watch on her.
‘Is this the end? ‘, asked Narendra. ‘No’, I replied shakily-” She is a fighter and survivor and in good care.” But within three hours it was all over. there was that black bordered message in front of Buckingham Palace and flags were half-masked. New Prime minister of England, who was the 15’th prime minster appointed by the queen only two days ago on sixth of September, perhaps her last royal duty announced that Queen Elizabeth second’s era has ended. This is a sad moment for our nation but a time of big change also, as we are looking forward to our new king Charles the third with new exciting opportunities.’
True, time doesn’t stand still for anyone, old leaves yield to the new, but she was not any old leaf, she was important and very important. She served faithfully her country for 70 years with full co-operation and respect of her people.
When She was enthroned at an young age of 25, 70 years ago, she said, ‘I cannot do it without you, as I’ m raw and green like fresh salad. Come with me.’
She was the main and true pillar of London-Bridge. Every British loved her easy and simple mannerism. No wonder code for her death was-London Bridge is falling down.
We all pray at this saddest hour that her soul rest in peace by the side of her dear husband Prince Philip-Last chapter in the most romantic royal love story perhaps comes to an end: Theirs was a passionate alchemy that lasted from the day they met, when she was 13, to his death at nearly 100. What a tragedy that Prince Philip wasn’t there to protect her amid all the strife of her last few days.
Let us all pray together that like the sunshine, new rays of hope will come out breaking this darkest hour of gloom for this nation. When an Era ends, new one begins- long live our new King Charles the third!

Shail Agrawal

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