A Graceful Servant Leader
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
This week, people across the globe laid to rest an amazing leader. Queen Elizabeth II ended her 70-year reign as the Monarch of the United Kingdom and commonwealths within the realm. Imagine having to assume the role of Monarch at the age of 25. Some would say, “What role? She’s the queen; what would she have to do?” While the role of the Monarch is not political, it is surely a national or international role. Elizabeth started standing in for her father, King George VI, when his health began to fail. In a radio broadcast when she turned 21 she stated, “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong,” At an early age, she recognized her place as a servant, not a ruler.
Early on she embraced the jet-setting age making more than 90 state visits in addition to her trips within the Commonwealth. During her reign, she was able to accelerate the decolonization of more than 20 countries. She was a constant calming force for the world, during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s. The queen was a confidant of UK prime ministers from Winston Churchill to Liz Trust, who she met just days before her death. Leaders of the UK were able to have weekly meetings with the Monarch, and everything they shared they knew would be held in the strictest of confidence.
She kept true to her Faith, true to her monarchy, and true to her people who adored her. My father, who remembered her coronation, mentioned yesterday that she carried herself with grace and dignity for over 70 years. This amazing woman who walked among kings, rode horseback with presidents, and could be humble and down to earth with the citizenry of the UK (and the world) has left us an example of Faith, decency, and dignity.
May we all take a few moments to reflect on the privilege we have had to know of her and observe her in action. Her strong yet gentle demeanor worked so very well. She was a servant leader, and we had the opportunity to witness history in our time.