Some of this was no doubt due to her quiet but serious Christian faith. A friend who once had the privilege of being a royal chaplain and spending a weekend at Balmoral Castle confirmed that the conversations he had with the queen revealed her to be a thoughtful, devout Christian. As a humble Christian she took her earthly vocation seriously, placing the needs of the office and of the people she ruled before her own.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II marks a watershed for Britain and for those of us who have never known any other head of our state—as is true for any lifelong British citizen under the age of seventy. Remarkably, she began her reign while Winston Churchill was prime minister and then lived to see a further fourteen individuals hold that high office. Without question she saw more change in British society than any of her predecessors, and throughout it all she remained a calm and steadfast figurehead for the nation.
Growing up, I never had much time for the monarchy. With the exception of the Silver Jubilee in 1977, marked as it was by street parties and celebration, the monarchy rarely touched my life in any real way. Furthermore, as a lower-middle-class schoolboy, I possessed all the usual insecurities: a fear of the working class and a resentment of the nobility. But over the years my respect for the queen grew. In a world that was increasingly embracing casual disrespect, exhibiting a perverse pleasure in repudiating any notion of duty, and accepting uncouth behavior among its ruling classes, she stood out as reflecting a better, more civilized philosophy of public life.
Indeed, she lived long enough to become an anachronism, though not in the sense that republicans typically mean when they argue that monarchy is merely the unnecessary and backward residue of an earlier feudal age. She became an anachronism because of the kind of person she was.