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The Somerset Guardian, 14th September 2022

“O happy Rome, born when I was consul” was the boast of Cicero but it could be more aptly applied to the late Queen. “O happy Britain, born when I was sovereign.” For the greatest tribute to Her late Majesty is the smooth transition that this nation has seen, the constitution has worked.

Last Wednesday, I was in one of the Cobra rooms in Whitehall for a Privy Council meeting to be held on Zoom. It was one day after the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, had been appointed by The Queen. As we arrived, we were told that it would, instead, be by telephone and then the time came and went and the Council was cancelled. A day later the sad news came through, The Queen was dead.

The new sovereign acceded to the throne and His Majesty’s Government with many new ministers carried on with the business of running the country seamlessly, for this was the stability the late Queen had provided. Many countries would be in crisis if the head of state and separate head of government changed within a few days, even in a stable democracy as the United States the last inauguration of a new president was preceded by riots.   

Elizabeth II managed to be the personification of the nation, the focus of loyalty and fount of honour. A figure of high authority adored by her people who felt they knew her personally. Her Majesty’s long reign passed over the schools of history and a constitutional monarchy survived where so many others have fallen. This was not luck but skill, work and above all duty and so it leads us to honour her as we mourn by affirming: “God save The King.”

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