Queen Elizabeth II has died: the Second World War for Britain has Finally Ended
For many of us the late the Queen’s passing has broken a link with something that resided just beyond memory. We, those born in the late 1940s, the Baby Boomers, have never known any other monarch. Yes, we were born during the reign of King George VI but our first memory of a public royal event of any kind will have been the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. Growing up in the 1950s “The War” was a constant backdrop to our lives. It inhabited our consciousness and our play; it was replayed in films and in comics that we all saw and read. There was barely a child that would not have had a parent who had a role to play in some capacity or other either at home or overseas.
We knew that during the war times had been harrowing and frightening for our parents and that it was the Royal Family that helped to give purpose and the emotional strength needed for the struggle. They stayed in London throughout and experienced bombs falling on their home just like everyone else. Shortly before the war ended the Princess Elizabeth was old enough to enlist in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) the women’s branch of the army. For most people “we are all in this together” really did mean everyone including the Ryal Family.
For the parents of the Baby Boomer generation Queen Elizabeth was special; even those who were not ardent monarchists held her in regard because of their shared war time experience. During the recent period of official mourning hundreds of thousands of people have publicly paid their respects in different ways all across the country. I would guess that a large proportion of those doing so will have been Baby Boomers. For many of us of the baby boom generation our parents have grown old and passed on now and so we mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II on their behalf. And we mourn for ourselves also because our link to that past so vivid and yet just out of reach has gone. The Second World War has finally ended.