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Queen Elizabeth II: ‘A true figure of majesty’ to Filipinos

Today, a state funeral will bring Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in British history, to her final resting place at St. George Chapel at the Windsor Castle, where rests her husband Prince Philip as well as her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and her sister Princess Margaret.

When the Queen passed at age 96 on Sept. 8 at Balmoral in Scotland, President Marcos said, “The world has lost a true figure of majesty in what she demonstrated throughout her life.”

Queen Elizabeth II ended her reign of 70 years in the same spirit she started it in 1952 when her father King George VI died. She cut short a vacation in Kenya with Philip Mountbatten, hurrying back home, to take her place as Queen.

Time magazine described her then as “a fresh young blossom on roots that had weathered many a season of wintry doubt.” More than her crown, it was her commitment to duty that made her a reassuring presence in a world caught in sea changes where even the most enduring of institutions have been crumbling.

Queen Elizabeth II’s influence extended beyond the Commonwealth. While she had never set foot in the Philippines, she was no stranger to its people. All of her children, except Prince Edward, had come to the country on official visits, as well as Princess Margaret, who was Imelda Marcos’ guest of honor at the inauguration of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center in 1980.

Two of Elizabeth’s eight grandchildren, Prince William and Prince Harry, grew up with a Filipino governess, Araceli Piccio. This nurse from Bacolod had so endeared herself to the young princes she helped raise for eight years until their mother, Princess Diana, died in 1997 that she was invited to Prince Harry’s wedding with Meghan Markle at the Windsor Castle in 2011.

In Filipinos, Queen Elizabeth II saw a sense of duty she deemed worthy of recognition.

In 2015, in the wake of supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the Queen expressed deep sadness over the devastation. She made a personal donation to the British Red Cross to reach out to the victims and survivors. For their work searching for and helping British nationals affected by the typhoon, she honored Victoria Buenaventura and Joanna Teh of the British Embassy in Manila with a membership to the Order of the British Empire.

Recognized as officer of the same order was Filipino nurse Joy Ongcachuy for her services during the London Bridge terror attack in 2017.

For serving eight British ambassadors over 33 years, the Queen also honored Filipino driver Rolando Quetevis with the British Empire Medal in 2019.

The pandemic has proved to be a showcase of the Filipinos’ dedication to their work. Elizabeth acknowledged this exemplary trait in Filipino nurses with the British Empire Medal she bestowed on Minerva Klepacz in 2020 and Charito Romano in 2021.

This year, she awarded the UK’s National Health Service, including Filipino-British nurse May Parsons, with the George Cross, the highest civilian honor given in recognition of “the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger.”

“We are fortunate to have many nurses from the Philippines,” said the Queen. “I wanted to express my sincerest gratitude for their work.”

In 1944, as Elizabeth turned 18, her mother reminded her, “You are not a fairy-tale princess, but a real one.” Even as Queen, she had kept this in mind. Every inch royal, Elizabeth was just as human not only toward the British but also toward the rest of the world.

As President Marcos said, “We have found ourselves having developed a great sense of affection for her as queen, as mother, and as grandmother.”

Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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