The Queen and Prince Philip had greatness thrust upon them sooner than expected; Elizabeth was only 25 when her father died and she instantly became Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Head of the Commonwealth, and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
I thought it was a big deal when I was ordained deacon!
In the second episode of the TV series ‘The Crown’ we join the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on their plane ride home after receiving the news of the King’s death:
“I’m sorry,” she says.
“You’re sorry?” he responds in surprise, “I’m sorry.”
“I thought we’d have longer,” she explains, referring without saying it to their holiday, their time away from responsibility, and their time before they must both give up ‘personal indulgences’ for duty. There’s a knock and an aide pops his head in.
“Ma’am. Three hours to go now.”
Calling and vocation are wonderful things, but they are not always comfortable, whether they are given by Crown, Collar, or Christening. As I write this, Prince Philip is about to execute his last public office of his service to the Crown and ‘retire.’ Yet he will still be her husband, still live his life for her who lives her life for us. We don’t really retire from our vocations, they just evolve. May we be as faithful in all we do with the gift of life given to us by God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
By the Revd David Gardiner, Bishop’s Chaplain