In 1947, on a trip to South Africa, with her parents and sister Princess Margaret, the then Princess Elizabeth celebrated her 21st birthday and broadcasted a message to the United Kingdom and the last vestiges of empire. In it, she pledged to commit herself to a life of duty and service to God and the people, whether her life be short or long. She finished it by pledging, “God make good my vow”. It was a speech that suggested monarchy was a vocation and was written by her father’s speechwriter, a certain Dermot Morrah who was a Catholic.
During the last weeks, the world processed the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, and had time to reflect on the wisdom she acquired over her 96 memorable years. From Christmas messages to public addresses, the Queen was always inspired by her faith, family, and the duty she felt to God and her country.
Take a look at just some of these pearls of wisdom, and consider how they might inspire you in your own life.
“Throughout my life, the message and teachings of Christ have been my guide and in them I find hope. It is my heartfelt prayer that you will continue to be sustained by your faith in times of trial and encouraged by hope in times of despair.”
“When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.”
“My husband has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years, and I owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim.”
“When peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.”
“Our modern world places such heavy demands on our time and attention that the need to remember our responsibilities to others is greater than ever.”
“Even when your life seems most monotonous, what you do is always of real value — and importance to your fellow men.”
“For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, … is an inspiration and an anchor in my life.”
“None of us can slow the passage of time; and while we often focus on all that has changed in the intervening years, much remains unchanged, including the Gospel of Christ and his teachings.”
“Each day is a new beginning, I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.”
“Grief is the price we pay for love.”
“Over the years, those who have seemed to me to be the most happy, contented and fulfilled have always been the people who have lived the most outgoing and unselfish lives.”
“It’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.”
“It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is much more difficult.”
We may hold different points of view but it is in times of stress and difficulty that we most need to remember that we have much more in common than there is dividing us.”
“We know the reward is peace on earth, goodwill toward men, but we cannot win it without determination and concerted effort.”
QUEEN ELIZABETH II’S ENCOUNTERS WITH FIVE POPES
POPE FRANCIS IN 2014
When Queen Elizabeth II met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in April 2014, she gave the pope a food hamper filled with local delicacies and a bottle of Balmoral whiskey. The meeting marked the 100th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the Holy See.
POPE BENEDICT XVI IN 2010
Pope Benedict XVI’s first meeting during his four-day visit to the United Kingdom in September 2010 was with Queen Elizabeth II in Edinburgh, Scotland. Benedict said it was a “very cordial meeting, characterized by the sharing of several profound concerns for the well-being of the world’s peoples and for the role of the Christian values in society.”
POPE JOHN PAUL II IN 1980, 1982, AND 2000
Queen Elizabeth II first met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican together with her late husband, Prince Philip, for an official state visit on Oct. 13, 1980. In a historic trip marking the first time a pope set foot in Britain, Pope John Paul II visited the queen at Buckingham Palace in May 1982. Nearly 20 years later, the queen traveled to the Vatican for a private meeting with the Polish pope on Oct. 17, 2000.
POPE JOHN XXIII
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip had an audience with Pope John XXIII at the Apostolic Palace on May 5, 1961. The pope expressed his “deepest personal esteem” for the queen for bearing “the weight of such vast responsibilities with so much simplicity and dignity.”
POPE PIUS XII IN 1951
One year before Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne, she met Pope Pius XII as a princess in 1951.