In 2022, we can’t imagine any 21-year-old seriously vowing to dedicate her life to the service of others. But then Princess Elizabeth knew that she would one day become the queen of England and all its realms.
She also knew that she would inherit this responsibility because her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne a few years earlier so that he could marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. His sacrifice for “the woman I love” sounds romantic, but it forced King George VI to assume the monarchy. Young Elizabeth blamed her uncle for her father’s ill health, and perhaps for failing to marry a woman who could produce a suitable heir. I believe witnessing the detrimental effects of her uncle’s selfishness instilled a heightened sense of duty in her.
We can debate whether or not Queen Elizabeth took her sense of duty too far at the expense of her family, but today wouldn’t be the day for that discussion. Rather, we should admire her own self-denial as she served her kingdom. Many articles I’ve read since her passing indicate that Queen Elizabeth II had a genuine Christian faith, suggesting that she understood the value of putting others before herself.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. ~~Philippians 2:1-4
I’m challenged by Queen Elizabeth II’s example. She lived her life honoring the astounding promise she made as a 21-year-old girl.