Warmth and wisdom of the monarch

April 29, 2016

What comes to mind when we think of Her Majesty the Queen, who has just turned 90? For some, they will focus on her status and dominions, the centuries of tradition which she embodies so gracefully, her position as the figurehead of a nation, her historical place in arguably the most famous line of Kings and Queens.

Others may think of her in the context of her heirs as well as her illustrious ancestors. They will point to a very modern queen whose children and grandchildren are being raised to navigate the complexity of a world which has changed dramatically since she was crowned in 1953. Among them, particularly, the Prince of Wales, whose devotion to causes as diverse as the environment, history, literature and spirituality, suggest he in turn will be a monarch of real substance and relevance.

For myself, I think of her majesty’s strength and integrity, qualities which she has displayed from childhood, and which have carried her through her father’s early death, and a life which has known many challenges including among her immediate family. This is something she has acknowledged, saying: “Like all families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements.”

This is one of the reasons why I am honoured to support the Outdoor Trust, which aims to create 100 Walkways in all seventy-one Commonwealth Nations and Territories. These routes will be designated with special bronze markers bearing The Queen’s cypher – EIIR – as they are intended to celebrate Her Majesty in a subtle yet inspirational way. Walkers from around the world will be alerted to more than 10,000 highlights along the routes.

This global project reminds us that the Queen’s pledge of “duty” – made at her coronation – has led her into almost constant contact with statesmen and women from around the globe. The preparations that she makes for these contacts and of course the time she spends meeting people worldwide must make her one of the most well informed and knowledgeable people on Earth.

She imparts that wisdom without fanfare, but with a very deep concern for the improvement of all lives. And her advice is constantly drawn on not only by successive prime ministers from the UK, but also politicians and religious and community leaders from around the world.

The Queen has said: “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.”

Is she herself the most perfect catalyst for compassionate change? I believe so. And I think this is something we can all learn from and admire. A walkway to follow for life.

Bruno Wang, founder of the Pureland Foundation