Imagine being in a job that you can’t leave until you die! Furthermore, one where everyone has an opinion about you and your extended family, where you have almost no privacy and have to be polite to everyone – however loathsome.
Well, you and I will never know what that is like – thank goodness. But the same cannot be said for Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, the Queen and Head of the Commonwealth. 96 and still working! Whether you are a royalist or not, I have to say I think that is pretty amazing, and not something I would wish for.
Did you see Louis yesterday? 4 years old and bored out of his face on the balcony of Buck Palace, where his older relatives were either enjoying the air display – or making a good job of pretending they were. He is going to have to get used to all this doing stuff he doesn’t want to do that holds no interest for him!
But anything is do-able if you know your WHY.
Now I’m not expecting a 4-year-old to know their WHY (although remarkably some do), but on this Jubilee Friday it brought me in mind of the Queen and her purpose. There is a speech that has been referred to several times recently. It is a speech she made in South Africa on her 21st Birthday.
In this speech you can clearly see – that even though she may have thought it would be sometime before she would have to step up as Queen – she knew her WHY. It must have been a shock to her when her Father died so young – aged 56 – only 4 years after this speech. By then she was a young wife and Mum of two small children. But you can see from the below – she was ready.
“This is a happy day for me; but it is also one that brings serious thoughts, thoughts of life looming ahead with all its challenges and with all its opportunity…..
If we all go forward together with an unwavering faith, a high courage, and a quiet heart, we shall be able to make of this ancient commonwealth, which we all love so dearly, an even grander thing – more free, more prosperous, more happy and a more powerful influence for good in the world – than it has been in the greatest days of our forefathers.
To accomplish that we must give nothing less than the whole of ourselves. There is a motto which has been borne by many of my ancestors – a noble motto, “I serve”. Those words were an inspiration to many bygone heirs to the Throne when they made their knightly dedication as they came to manhood. I cannot do quite as they did.
But through the inventions of science, I can do what was not possible for any of them. I can make my solemn act of dedication with a whole Empire listening. I should like to make that dedication now. It is very simple.
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.
But I shall not have strength to carry out this resolution alone unless you join in it with me, as I now invite you to do: I know that your support will be unfailingly given. God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it.”
And with that she set out her purpose and her commitment, from which she has never wavered, not even in the most heart-breaking circumstances – those which we all face – the death of siblings, parents, in laws, cousins, divorces and separations – and the loss of the love of her life.
And what she also makes clear is the importance of community.
Communities are fundamentally important for many reasons, not least of which might be that when you make a declaration to your community, you are most likely to keep it, and your community can support you in your endeavours.
Have you found your community yet? If you would like to find out more about our WHYs Women, the Live Love Laugh lounge and how we can support you to Find Your Why, connect with me on LinkedIn here.
And whatever your feelings about the monarchy, I think we can all appreciate a 96-year old, never retiring, woman with purpose! Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor. Happy Platinum Jubilee!