Queen Elizabeth
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A guardian of stability till the end, Queen Elizabeth appointed her 15th and last prime minister, Liz Truss, during an audience at Balmoral Castle on September 6, merely two days before her death. Photo: Reuters

LettersQueen Elizabeth knew the weight of her words and conduct

  • Readers recall the great example the queen set for political leaders of all stripes with her commitment to her country and her exemplary conduct, and what she meant and means to a generation in Hong Kong
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Despite the occasional rumours about her deteriorating health, especially after the death of her beloved husband, Prince Philip, last year, I suppose many of us were still shocked to hear of Queen Elizabeth’s passing. The condolences flooding in from all across the world, beyond the Commonwealth realms, are a sign of how the British sovereign was loved and revered as an extraordinary bulwark for her people during both blissful and trying times.

She was a focus for national identity and unity, and a guardian of stability amid political division. The queen’s exemplary conduct in her role as Britain’s constitutional monarch holds lessons for those currently in power.

Princess Elizabeth was not supposed to succeed to the throne, but once she did, she remained faithful to her constitutional duty until the last moments of her life, appointing her 15th and last prime minister merely two days before her death.
As her age advanced, there was talk she could be preparing for abdication. Instead, she upheld her dedication to service, a pledge she renewed at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this year. Even after Prince Philip’s death and contracting Covid-19 herself, she swiftly resumed diplomatic duties upon recovery. Her unwavering love and commitment to her country is certainly a respected example to political leaders of all stripes.

British attitudes towards the monarchy have changed drastically. The queen will be remembered as a principled and prudent leader, as she clearly knew the weight of her words and conduct in a constitutional monarchy. Despite the royal prerogative bestowed on her and unlike some of her powerful predecessors, the queen had always refrained from even stepping near the realms of partisan politics, and her comments were often cautiously worded.

For the law makes the king, and the queen respected Britain’s constitutional conventions and the rule of law. Most notably, sovereign immunity did not stop her from strictly observing social distancing rules and mourning in solitude at her husband’s funeral, which presented a stark contrast with then prime minister Boris Johnson’s behind-the-doors dinner parties when the nation was in lockdown.

The modernised monarchy under Queen Elizabeth was also a vessel to advance reconciliatory and charitable causes, which arguably served its very purpose as a symbol of unity, and brought the royal family closer to the people.

Anfield Tam, Quarry Bay


When Queen Elizabeth visited Hong Kong and mainland China

When Queen Elizabeth visited Hong Kong and mainland China

How the queen impressed a generation in Hong Kong

When Hong Kong was still a British colony, Queen Elizabeth came for a visit in 1975. I was in Primary Six. My class teacher picked me to welcome her outside the City Hall. The mad waving of flags, the fleeting impression of her car passing by and the honour of being a representative on this important occasion have been unforgettable memories ever since.

She was more than an icon to me. Diligent and kind, she discharged her duties as a monarch for 70 years, never complaining and always with a loving, encouraging spirit. She was so steadfast! We don’t know what price she paid for this stern commitment, but we know the fruit of it, namely the integrity of the monarchy for seven decades.

She was a pillar of strength, tradition and morality. We all learn from her example.

My best friend could not sleep after she heard the news about the queen’s death. My other friends posted photos, poems and epitaphs on their Facebook pages in remembrance. l am wearing all black this week. Such is the impact of a great lady who will forever stay in our hearts.

Farewell, your Majesty! May you rest in peace.

Jacqueline Kwan, Sai Ying Pun