Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Accession of His Majesty King Charles III
26 Sep | '2022
The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has sent shockwaves across the globe and across our nation. The Queen was larger than life and, for many of us, she was the only monarch we’ve ever known. Elizabeth II loved Australia, visiting our shores 16 times, and we loved her deeply in return. Many Australians from my generation had a fondness for Her Majesty like that of a grandmother figure. We heard her voice through the radio, saw her face on coins, stamps and currency, and watched her deliver her Christmas message every year. She was the Queen who was never meant to be but through her circumstance stepped up to lead and to unite. For seven decades her graciousness ruled, modernising monarchy with a steady hand and heart.
Elizabeth reigned from the industrial age to the internet age against a backdrop of cultural and political change. Her Majesty stewarded 15 UK prime ministers, from Churchill to Truss, and 16 Australian prime ministers, from Menzies to Morrison. Across parties, across parliaments, through wars and recessions, good times and bad, she was always a constant bright light, with comforting and reassuring words. Her personality captured the hearts of millions around the world.
Since the news of her death, photos, videos and stories of her have circled the globe—deeply personal moments with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, stories of her time during World War II and of course tea with Paddington Bear and at the London Olympics with 007. Elizabeth II had a calm demeanour, a wicked sense of humour and an incredible love for her country, the Commonwealth, her family, corgis and all things equine. A favourite insight was when Her Majesty wore a brooch gifted to her by Barack Obama during an audience with Donald Trump. Such was the humour always on display for those who chose to look closely.
I spent the first eight years of my life growing up in a satellite city, Elizabeth, to the north of Adelaide named after Her Majesty. Later, I recall the royal visit in October 1981, when I was just 14 and in year 8. I walked with my high school peers to the Main North Road to see and honour our Queen and her prince as they passed by in their black Rolls-Royce. Two thousand children from Gawler high school waved ferociously with our Australian flags to welcome her to our town. Many will remember how we lined the road for kilometres for just one glimpse and a royal wave.
My late mother, Barbara, spoke of her fond memories at the tender age of eight in England in 1953 watching the Queen’s coronation on the single television in the cul-de-sac in Roweth Road in Middlesborough. Her big sister, June, received a coronation book when she was selected by her school to wave a flag and in turn receive a royal wave, as I did 28 years later. Generations of Australians have cherished memories of Her Majesty, including those who immigrated here, including my mother’s family, the Aldersons.
Elizabeth II visited the Gold Coast on one occasion, in March 1963, when she attended a royal surf carnival as patron of the Queensland surf life saving association. Some may have caught a glimpse of her or received a royal wave during that event, too. Many Moncrieff constituents have filled the pages of our condolence books with heartfelt messages to the Queen and to the royal family, including Nicholas Ewart, an Aussie digger and warrant officer class two, who wrote:
To Her Majesty the Queen, Ma’am it has been an honour and a privilege to serve you. May you rest in peace.
To Elizabeth II, your service and dedication to making Britain, the Commonwealth and the world a better place is your legacy. As we look to the future, we know King Charles III will continue to build on your commitment to public service, uphold your values and continue your work. On behalf of the good people of Moncrieff and, indeed, the community of Elizabeth, I offer my deepest condolences to all members of the royal family. May you rest peacefully with your beloved Philip. Thank you for all you did for the nations of the Commonwealth.