In Canada, Queen Elizabeth was part of the fabric of our lives

In Canada, Queen Elizabeth was part of the fabric of our lives

By Shachi Kurl, President

Long did she reign. At 96, after more than 70 years as Queen of Canada, we can’t say it wasn’t wholly expected.

Still, as with the loss of a parent or grandparent, we think they’ll go on forever because the alternative feels unbearable. The end of the second Elizabethan era will catch us out in moments of unguarded emotion. It will hit us harder than we may expect. It will feel hard to believe.

It has left my dad in tears. My father, who grew up steeped in the new era of an independent, post-colonial India. A country that fought to kick out the king and all he represented. A country that suffered indescribable death and trauma as a result of Crown-implemented partition in 1947. And yet there she had been, someone who — albeit from a distance — had travelled with him the entirety of my father’s life. And now she is gone.

It is a small example of how much Elizabeth II was part of the fabric of all our lives. Almost four generations have known no other monarch. On our currency. On the titles of almost everything government-related. In the words of our national anthems. We’ve watched her grow older and frailer, particularly in the last year. We felt her loss when the Duke of Edinburgh, her husband of 73 years, died last year. We saluted her stoicism in laying him to rest, virtually alone, under strict COVID rules. Many of us marvelled at a lifetime of indefatigable execution of her duties.

In April, at the time of her birthday, we at the Angus Reid Institute commissioned a national survey that underscores the affection people felt for her. More than two-thirds viewed her favourably, rising to almost 80 per cent among women over the age of 55. Half told us they would be “sad” when she died, including almost 30 per cent who believed they’d feel “very sad.”

Many of us will grieve. Grief takes its own time. Thus, there are those who would say it’s too soon to start talking about, or even thinking about, the implications for the future of the monarchy as a Canadian institution. Jarring as it may be, however, the future is here.

Read more from the article in the Ottawa Citizen here.

Image – Tomas Martinez/Unsplash

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