As an Anglophile and closeted British royalist (sounds like a terminal diagnosis, doesn’t it?), I mark with wistful pleasure the 60th anniversary this week of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Imagine, in this ugly political season, having a head of state who stands above the partisan fray—and who has done so for 60 years. Most Americans don’t appreciate this, I’m sure. But as Cranmer writes,
as here-today-gone-tomorrow politicians win and lose, rise and fall, and come and go, the Monarch provides a reassuring spiritual continuity and political stability in a world of frequent unthinking change and paralysing uncertainty. Over six decades, Her Majesty has shaken hands with 12 British prime ministers and seen the same number of US presidents come and go. If she has inherited her mother’s genetic disposition to longevity, she is likely to see her Platinum Jubilee and shake hands with another three prime ministers (now that we have fixed-term parliaments) and entertain five more US presidents.
This past Sunday, throughout Britain and the Commonwealth nations, Anglican churches offered this prayer on behalf of all her subjects. Can I get at least a small Amen on this side of the pond?
God of time and eternity,
Whose Son reigns as servant, not master;
We give You thanks and praise
That You have blessed this nation, the realms and
territories with Elizabeth,
Our beloved and glorious Queen.
In this year of Jubilee,
Grant her Your gifts of love and joy and peace
As she continues in faithful obedience to you, her
Lord and God,
And in devoted service to her lands and peoples,
And those of the Commonwealth,
Now and all the days of her life;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.