Recently, in the middle of the US, I had the honor of being a guest of Her Majesty’s Government at an event honoring Sir Winston Churchill.
You can read more about the event, and the amazing work of the men and women who run America’s National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri, USA, in a piece I wrote for the UK’s Weekly Telegraph.
But in reflecting on the event, and the legacy of Sir Winston, I can’t help but think back on the fact that Sir Winston was Her Majesty’s first Prime Minister.
And it has been reported that he was her mentor.
Sally Bedell Smith, in her biography titled Elizabeth the Queen, recorded that Sir Winston was “impressed by her. She was conscientious, she was well informed, she was serious minded.” In a speech to the House of Commons, five days after Her Majesty took the throne, Sir Winston expresses hope that the new Queen would be “a signal for… a brightening salvation of the human scene.”
As a side note, I highly recommend Smith’s work, as I believe it is the best biography of Her Majesty I have read.
And then there was his funeral. Sir Winston was a commoner. Yet, by decree of Her Majesty, his body laid in state for three days and he received a state funeral, attended by representatives from over 100 nations and Her Majesty. This was the only time since 1914 that a non-royal family member has received such an honor.
So today, as we see Her Majesty continue her public service, we can look back at a man that was quite possibly one of her examples. A man who served with honor, with sacrifice, and who served almost until his last breath.
And, when you stop and think about it, and how much Sir Winston is a role model to us all, it just makes you smile a wee bit to know that he was also a role model to Her Majesty.
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