The majesty of Queen Elizabeth’s 10 days of national mourning in UK was clear to see.
It was not a cosmetic choice of phrase that she was indeed, Her Majesty the Queen.
She reigned over what was the last great global empire.
Paradoxically, she also oversaw the dismantling of her empire’s grandeur, beginning with Indian independence in 1948, led by her predecessors. But it was during her reign that decolonisation swept Britain’s overseas dominions and territories.
Her funeral procession and the pageantry that accompanied it were military exercises by her troops, bidding farewell to their dear departed military Commander-in-Chief.
Like all empires, Britain’s empire was based on military conquest.
Queen Elizabeth was the manifestation of British conquest and the guardian of that tradition and history.
The British sovereign is expected to defend his or her country with his or her life.
Military training is mandatory for all heirs and heirs-apparent, including Elizabeth herself, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II and rising to the equivalent rank of Captain.
The symbols of military might were also clearly on sight, through much of the burial procession – the grand imperial monuments lining the route, the granite and brass statues of the empire’s war heroes and heroines, the grand imperial buildings of state, etc.
Indeed, like all empires, much of this grandeur was built and acquired, some say stolen, on the blood, sweat and tears of Britain’s colonised lands and subjects.
Conquest and subjugation are two sides of the same coin.
They are what governs our world as we know it.
They are what has always governed our world.
And they will always be what will govern our world.
Our very latest war experiment with Vladimir Putin as the supposed villain is seen in Russia as a normal day at the office.
In earlier times, the creation of a fighting force that devastated the entire southern African region was championed by none other than the fearless Shaka Zulu, the ramifications of which are still witnessed today.
Despite the fashionable talk of human rights, democracy and civil liberties, when push comes to shove, the modern nation state is a military construct that will not shy away from war in order to protect its interests, and Britain, more than any in modern times, fully exemplifies that reality.
When Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland rose to deliver the first lesson at the funeral service, it sent two messages.
The first was that Queen Elizabeth was still the head of an imperial power, albeit with the much-reduced clout of today’s British Commonwealth of Nations.
The second message was in the choice of the reading itself: 1 Corinthians 15.
It stresses the importance of the resurrection in the Christian faith and says death will be the final enemy to be defeated by Christ.
“… Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?...”
As the first reading of the service, Elizabeth was proclaiming not only her unwavering faith in Christ, but also significantly, that despite her soft demeanour and her petit stature, she was still very much Commander-in-Chief of her armed forces.
She was saying to all of us, that death had not emerged victorious, but that the goodness of Christ as our protector, had consumed the death that we fear.
She was departing with a steely resolve and a victorious declaration that could not be denied, even by death itself.
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