With the state funeral of Her Majesty The Queen concluded, this continues to be a sad moment for so many of us.
For generations of children, The Queen was and remains an important symbol and the human face of a society that is too big and complex for any of us to know. The depth of the mourning that we have seen has shown the sense of loss that so many felt and is a tribute to an incredible life of service and grace.
I have been very moved over the last week, seeing the images of children expressing their grief in public. It reminded me of what I heard in The Big Ask, the largest-ever survey of children that I conducted last year. Many children spoke movingly of how important their grandparents were and how they wanted to feel close to them even after they’d passed away:
“I would go to see my grandparents’ graves more often as they have all passed away. I would also like to pray for them more often” – Boy, aged 6.
“[I would like to] live in my great nan’s house who passed away. It would be nice so I can [remember] her” – Girl, aged 8.
I hope that, if there is one positive in this sad moment for our nation, all the children who attended or watched one of the formal events during this period have come away with a sense of history and connectedness from that shared feeling right across the country.
It seems no time at all since we were marking Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee and we were feeling a similar, but much more positive, sense of occasion. At that time, I wrote about what she meant to children and her life of service. One child listed the Royal Family as one of the things that mark out our country as a good place to live:
“Overall, England is a good country we have free healthcare, democracy, a royal family, and a thriving economy” – Girl, 14.
As we embark on a new era and the reign of King Charles III, I will be hoping for as much ambition for children as we have seen over the last 70 years.
God save The King.