During Word War II, Princess Elizabeth rolled up her sleeves and learned how to fix a car. She had enrolled in the Auxiliary Territorial Service and trained as a driver and mechanic for the British army. She was appointed an honorary junior commander at just 19 years of age.
While she remained stationed in Britain, this practical training, and her attitude of pitching in at a time of national need, transformed into a lifelong fulfilment of duty to her country. Despite all the pomp and ceremony, and underneath all of her regalia, she always remained in spirit a humble servant for the national cause.
Her service lasted seven decades. Seven years longer than Queen Victoria, the second longest reign of a monarch.
There's not much I can say about Queen Elizabeth that has not already been said. The obituaries published around the world today provide a rich and detailed history documenting her contributions over nine decades of life and seven decades of reign.
Her death represents the loss of a generation, a set of values, and a way of life. Queen Elizabeth II reigned during a period of remarkable stability and peace, but also during a time in which duty and self-sacrifice were considered the highest of virtues. Her dedication to her role, and her example of selfless action encapsulate ideals that were unique to her formative years, and that are now, for the most part, fading away.
We do not have to be British to admire the Queen's dutiful service to her country. We do not have to be monarchists to appreciate her beneficent rule. And we do not have to be conservative to recognise that her lifetime of service is worthy of the deepest respect and admiration.
Queen Elizabeth II is admired for many things, one of them being her courage.There is, perhaps, no greater example of leaning in than that of the Queen, thrust into immortal responsibility, the weight of a nation, and empire on her shoulders at age 25. She showed us all what leadership and dedication truly is.