Lessons Learned from Queen Elizabeth – Part 6

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Lesson #1: Duty and Love Rarely Mix Well
Lesson #2 Mothers Don’t Always Know Best
Lesson #3: There is a Big Difference Between Illusions, Delusions, and Reality
Lesson #4: Sometimes, it is Important to Break Protocol
Lesson #5: Accepting a Situation for What it is Can be Good for the Soul

Lesson #6: Sometimes, it is Not the Words…
But the Way We Say Them
Matters Most

The Eloquent Speaker

There is no doubt that Queen Elizabeth was an eloquent speaker. Sure, she had writers to write her speeches. Yet, her delivery was always on point. Her speeches started with a hook and were quite engaging. They were direct and pleasant to hear. She spoke with dignity and gentle softness, even when delivering bad news.

Practice Makes Perfect

Queen Elizabeth gave her first speech, the “Windsor Speech,” in 1940 when she was a princess. At Winston Churchill’s suggestion, the 14-year-old Elizabeth spent weeks practicing this radio address, whose purpose was to comfort young children sent away from their homes during World War II and, more subtly, to charm America into supporting the fight against the Nazis. According to news sources, the speech boosted the morale of the younger generation and won the support of their United States ally as well.

Hope for the World

In Queen Elizabeth’s first official speech on the evening of her Coronation in 1953, she offered hope. She did not speak of the monarchy’s power but instead of her confidence about the future. It uplifted the world, as many of her public addresses did, as they highlighted the themes of hope and her devotion to serving the people. She came across as a strong yet humble leader. 

The Stiff Upper Lip

Queen Elizabeth’s relationship with Diana was mediocre at best. Queen Elizabeth was no model mother-in-law. She took the same approach to Princess Diana as to her own children. One of distance and limited involvement. When Diana asked for mental health treatment, she was denied. After all, what would the public think of a royal who couldn’t solve problems with a stiff upper lip?

The Cold Fish Starts to Thaw

When Princess Diana died in a tragic car accident, all hell broke out at Buckingham Palace. What exactly was the protocol for mourning and the funeral of an ex-wife of a Prince? There wasn’t one. Decisions about these things would have to be made post-haste. One thing was clear, the Queen had shifted into overdrive and did everything she could to help her grandsons process the tragedy in their own way and time.

Queen Elizabeth delayed speaking to the public about Princess Diana’s death. Perhaps she was taking time to process it all. At some point, she realized the necessity of delivering a formal announcement after the enormous outpouring of sympathy. Her tribute to Princess Diana displayed considerable warmth and kindness. It seemed more maternal than usual. Her tone was hopeful, trusting, and uplifting. Her delivery was heartfelt and compassionate. Even through the pain of grief, she felt for her grandsons losing their mother, she stood tall and strong. 


Contemplating the Queen’s speeches, I offer my thoughts. Queen Elizabeth represents a long line of royalty that dates back centuries. I admired her because she was anointed Queen and held the official title of “Defender of the Faith” by the Church of England. It was this mysterious religious anointing that captivated me.

Queen Elizabeth was clearly rough around the maternal edges. I don’t think “mothering” was instinctual for her, nor was it something she wanted to perfect. It almost seemed beneath her. Which left me perplexed. As there is no more noble duty than motherhood. Yet, by and large, she left the “mothering” to nannies and other royal assistants. However, once she had grandchildren, Queen Elizabeth seemed to reflect a sense of guilt or sadness about the “mothering” she had failed to offer her own children. Yet over time, Queen Elizabeth’s words and actions became more maternal as the number of her grandchildren grew. Softer. More refined and refreshingly warmer. The cold fish was finally beginning to thaw out.

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