In February of 1952, mere hours following the death of her father, a visionary leader stepped onto the global stage:
"I am called to assume the duties and responsibilities of sovereignty. I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong . . . I pray that God will help me to discharge worthily this heavy task that has been laid upon me so early in my life," said Elizabeth II of England.
Through history and across time, few leaders have shaped world history with greater impact, and more grace, than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Her reign spanned 15 British prime ministers, 14 U.S. presidents, and 7 Popes, and it sadly came to an end September, 2022. Over the past century, no global leader occupied a front row seat to as much history as she did
As the longest serving British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II was a fixed point in a changing world while successfully perpetuating the House of Windsor’s momentous influence through wars, recessions, strikes, victories, and tragedies.
Even during her later life, the monarch faithfully adhered to a travel itinerary that would have exhausted many half her age, all while maintaining poise and resolute grace.
Her posture, while adjusted over time, was supported by a spine of steel.
I first met the queen and Prince Philip in 1991, a decade prior to my service as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, during a visit to Dallas, Texas. The royal family was on a three-day tour of the Lone Star State which carried them from San Antonio, to Dallas, and on to Houston.
The first British monarch to set foot on Texas soil, she spoke warmly about the shared bonds between our nations. It was evident to all that she was well versed in local custom and history, and also intellectually and physically indefatigable.
Surveying the landscape of leaders today, I’m hard pressed to identify a similar head of state who embodies the integrity exuded by Elizabeth II for nearly a century.
It’s clear, she developed a reputation for engaging with a wide spectrum of personalities and leadership. Few have understood as well as she, the power of communication to unite troubled souls in the midst of partisanship and divisiveness.
Long may her legacy endure.
Nancy Brinker is a former U.S. Ambassador and U.S. Chief of Protocol, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and founder of Susan G. Komen and The Promise Fund of Florida. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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