Coco Calling No.209 - A Parrot’s Tribute to Queen Elizabeth ii
It may not have escaped your notice that something rather big has recently occurred amongst the world of humans. I was solving all of the difficult puzzles in the back of a Bengali newspaper when I noticed the headline on the front page….
“We are extremely disheartened to hear of the passing of her Majesty the Queen and would love to send our thoughts and prayers to the Royal Family.” (Shottobani Newspaper).
Humans are a funny bunch because many of them have been mourning the loss of their late Queen even though most of them are totally unlike her. Let me explain what I mean.
Queen Elizabeth spoke human English with a really posh accent. And not only that. She was born into privilege. She was in a different league to most humans. She was fabulously wealthy with a personal fortune said to be in the region of £382million. So unlike a lot of humans, she never had to worry about paying the monthly mortgage or finding the funds for her electricity bill. Nor did she have to worry about doing very much for herself as she had an army of some 1200 staff to keep her whole Royal Household running. Staff ranging from chauffeurs to cooks and everything else in between.
So I have to ask myself ‘why are humans so upset at her passing?’ And how has her passing managed to unite humans in the UK in a way that politicians can only dream about? Well, I reckon we have to go back to the early 1950’s for the answer. When she became Queen in 1952, Elizabeth ii could have embarked on a life of self-indulgence and outrageous luxury. But she didn’t. Instead she committed her life to her citizens, to the members of the Commonwealth and most importantly of all, to God. During her very first televised Christmas broadcast in 1952, (before being officially invested as Queen), she said this:
“Pray for me…that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you all the days of my life.”
And these weren’t just empty words. She went on to honour and fulfil her commitments for the next 70 years of her life. And perhaps the very fact that she had such a long reign and always seemed to be there in the background of our lives through both good and bad times, meant that some of us may have taken her very much for granted. So how did she serve us all, -both humans and parrots alike?
Well, for the last 70 years, the Queen has been the “Supreme Governor” of the Church of England and “Defender of the Faith.” These weren’t just grand titles. She lived by them. Every night she would kneel by the side of her bed and say her prayers, and nearly every Sunday she would attend a church service wherever she happened to be.
During her reign, she was associated with more than 600 different charities, serving as Patron for a great many of them. Charities including Cancer Research UK, the British Red Cross, Barnardo’s and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. And being a Patron was a lot more than simply serving as a figurehead. It involved attending countless functions and events at which she did her best to offer her enthusiastic support, her encouragement and quite simply “her love” towards each of the causes and for all of the people involved with them. In fact, during her reign, she gave up so much of her own time that it’s been estimated that she either met or was seen by more than 20 million humans in this country alone.; -about one third of the current population.
She was always completely inclusive of everyone, irrespective of their nationality, colour, culture or religious beliefs and back in 1952 during her trip to Africa, she raised eyebrows by dancing with a black man. But I’m sure that God was smiling down on her as she did it.
And then there was her famous trip to Ireland in 2011. Given that the IRA had previously assassinated her cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, this was quite a gesture. She arrived in Dublin dressed in Irish green, - the first British monarch to set foot there since 1911, - and it was against a backdrop of threats to her life from IRA splinter groups and a great many anti-British protesters. She went to the Croke Park stadium in Dublin, the site of the infamous “Bloody Sunday” massacre when British soldiers killed 14 Irish citizens back in 1920, and for which the UK has never been properly forgiven. And she laid a wreath in Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance which commemorated all of those that had died fighting to free Ireland of British rule.
By the end of the four-day trip, she’d been able to defuse old tensions to such an extent that she was able to go for a spontaneous walkabout in Cork, and some months later, she shook hands with the notorious IRA commander, -Martin McGuinness.
Queen Elizabeth always wrote her own Christmas messages, and following her Irish visit, her 2011 message included these words:
“Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families; it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God’s love.”
So, according to my feathery brain, the reason why so many humans have felt an emptiness and shed a tear for Queen Elizabeth is because underneath the posh frocks and stilted speech, there lay a heart of pure gold. She used Jesus as the shining example of how to go about her daily life. In her Christmas address in 2016, at the age of 90, she said this:
“Billions of people now follow Christ’s teaching and find in Him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them because Christ’s example helps me to see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe.”
I don’t know if you’ve detected this, but I think there’s more than a hint of irony in the air at the moment because a great many of our human countrymen who are mourning her passing are not regular churchgoers and some won’t have any faith at all. And what they might not realise is that they are mourning the death of our Queen because they have subconsciously identified with the Christian values that she held so dear to her heart.
Queen Elizabeth gave to the world instead of taking for herself; she humbled herself instead of proclaiming her own glory and status. And most importantly of all, she allowed God to work through her throughout the duration of her reign.
So “thankyou ma’am for everything you did for us” and now may you receive your eternal reward in Heaven.”