The world, not just the UK, pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth

News Letter editorial on Friday June 3 2022:

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

The president of France Emmanuel Macron has paid tribute to the Queen in a video message.

A small extract of his words are on the opposite page (in the print edition, tweet embedded in this web version).

When heads of state reach anniversaries, other heads of state do tend to issue warm words about them.

But there is an extra resonance to the messages that are sent to the Queen, and this is for a number of reasons.

Her Majesty’s tenure on the throne, a remarkable 70 years, is without parallel in Britain, and has few equivalents in history.

Certainly there have been monarchs in various places, including France, who became kings or queens when they were infants and then reigned for many decades.

But Queen Elizabeth was an adult in her late 20s when she became head of state, in fact she became an adult during the Second World War.

This means that all through her tenure she has had a developed understanding of some of the most important events in human history. Hence how President Macron can talk about her past relations with President Charles De Gaulle, the French leader in exile during the Nazi years of control in France before he returned on its liberation.

Meanwhile, at home, the Queen has steered so clear of politics as to have avoided alienating any sections of her population.

There has been much mention of Michelle O’Neill’s letter to the Queen at this time, but the Queen herself extended the hand of friendship to republican Ireland, from shaking hands with Martin McGuinness to paying tribute to the Irish independence war dead on her visit to Dublin. She patiently waited until her 80s before setting foot in an independent Ireland, which she had reportedly yearned to do.

The jubilee celebrations will continue all weekend, and be propelled by the immense public goodwill towards Her Majesty that there is across these islands, and across the generations.