Inspirational People: Queen Elizabeth II
Celebrating the life of Queen Elizabeth II
by Philippa Rae
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To celebrate the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Preparation and materials
Gather some images of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and have the means to display them during the assembly. Use images that reveal different aspects of her character and interests. Some examples can be found at: www.royal.gov.uk/hmthequeen/hmthequeen.aspx and www.bbc.co.uk/archive/princesselizabeth/
Have available the videos of the accession and coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (available at: www.royal.gov.uk/HMTheQueen/AccessionCoronation/Accessionandcoronation.aspx) and the means to show them during the assembly.
Can you imagine always having to be on your best behaviour?
Can you imagine always being in the public eye, and always having to live up to huge expectations while remaining graceful and dignified?
Can you imagine keeping complete control of your emotions while at the same time appearing sympathetic and understanding?
Can you imagine appearing calm in the face of every situation and demonstrating kindness and patience at all times?
Pause for the students to consider the answers to these questions.
More than anything, can you imagine putting your own feelings second to service for your country?
This is the life and vocation of our monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Display an image of the Queen.
Her Majesty the Queen has seen considerable transformation in society since her coronation in 1953. There have been massive advances in the fields of science and medicine, and there have been many discoveries and events that have had a huge global impact.
Throughout all of these changes, the Queen has remained an iconic figure as she performs countless duties, provides valuable patronage for many charities and adds prestige and honour to those with whom she is involved.
Despite upheavals in both personal and national situations, the Queen has remained a reassuringly constant force who is admired throughout the world.
Display another image of the Queen.
Queen Elizabeth II was born into great privilege and wealth, but also into a role of great responsibility. She has never been heard to publicly complain about her role and she has never shirked her duties. She has conducted herself impeccably through years of hard work and commitment as Head of State to the United Kingdom and as Head of the Commonwealth, which includes 53 countries around the world. In doing this, she has shown immense inner strength and discipline, despite the pressure of being one of the world’s most famous women.
Show the video clips of Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne and her coronation.
Queen Elizabeth was 25 years old when she acceded to the throne in 1952, and she was formally crowned the following year. She married Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and had four children. Her eldest child, Prince Charles, will eventually succeed her.
Queen Elizabeth was not originally destined to become Queen. However, her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936, so it was left to his brother, the Queen’s father, George, to take up the reins. Elizabeth was 11 years old when her father was crowned King George VI. At this point, the whole course of her life changed. Prior to this, she was expected to take up a relatively minor royal role, but she would end up taking her place in history and steering the Royal Family into the twenty-first century.
In September 2015, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning British monarch. In April 2016, she became 90 years old. However, she steadfastly continues with her duties, despite the fact that many people consider retiring when they reach their 60s or before!
Throughout her reign, the Queen has been an inspiration to many people. Many of the new generation of the Royal Family aspire to be like her.
Time for reflection
In a world that is constantly changing, Queen Elizabeth provides a reassuring presence and consistency. She is regarded with great respect and affection throughout the world and she has an impact on people wherever she goes. She is recognized as the embodiment of our national identity. Many people regard her as the cement that binds us together.
We thank you for the Queen and for all that her life means.
We thank you for all she has done for the United Kingdom, our extended family in the Commonwealth and elsewhere in the world.
Please help us to learn from her example of self-control, discipline and service to others.
May we learn to put other people’s needs ahead of our own.