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The Faith of Queen Elizabeth

The Faith of Queen Elizabeth

When did your interest in Queen Elizabeth and her life first begin?

My interest in Queen Elizabeth II, the kind of interest that viewed her as a real person and not just an historical figure, began when I took a trip abroad my senior year in high school. When our entourage reached London, it was near the end of our tour and felt like a kind of homecoming.

When we toured Windsor Castle the next day, I sort of fell in love. I became an incurable Anglophile and had to know more about Great Britain and the United Kingdom – including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I was especially intrigued by the events of the 20th century leading to her accession and coronation. How was she able to sustain an institution that even a majority of her subjects considered an anachronism? What role did she fulfill in the actual workings of the British government? And what was she like as a person, as an individual? How did her personality affect her ability to do her duty? My interest in Her Majesty and the Royal Family followed me into adulthood, as an English major at university and then as a writer. Subsequent trips to the UK along with visits to Commonwealth countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand allowed me to explore my fascination with the Queen and the evolution of the British monarchy.

Is there a singular event in the Queen’s life which you feel most shaped her spiritual beliefs?

This is a fantastic but impossible-to-answer question! If I were to choose a singular event, however, I would make a case for the abdication of her Uncle David, King Edward VIII. This event continues to echo across time even now more than eighty years later. The Succession to the Crown Act was only passed in 2013. The abdication crisis forced everyone involved to examine the sovereign’s duty in relation to an individual person’s liberties. In many ways, this is the same challenge almost any person of faith must consider, the dilemma the Apostle Paul examines in Romans. What is my duty as a follower of Jesus versus my freedom to live my life as I choose? The abdication of her uncle forced Her Majesty to consider these issues from a young age and likely prompted her to solidify her personal convictions and beliefs prior to her accession to the throne.

What aspects of the Queen’s faith story did you find most surprising?

The most surprising aspect of the Queen’s faith story emerged in the consistency of how she treats others. Naturally, we would expect Her Majesty to treat others well enough because she is such a public figure and would not want to reflect negatively on the Crown or to give the insatiable tabloid press more fodder. But I found that throughout her life, Queen Elizabeth has shown respect, kindness, compassion, and curiosity toward all people. She’s as human as the rest of us but has practised the Golden Rule since she was a girl, a princess, and treated others as she wants to be treated.

Extract from The Faith of Queen Elizabeth:

Prior to his meeting with Her Majesty, Dr. Nott had recently returned from Aleppo, a key battleground city in the ongoing Syrian Civil War. There the surgeon had operated on victims – mostly children – of gunfire, improvised explosive devices, and missile launches from various opposing militants. He worked from a makeshift surgical theater hidden amid the dusty ruins of Aleppo’s ravaged streets, where shattered limbs, blood loss, and internal organ damage were inescapable.

Dr. Nott returned home to London and his practice there but could not leave the emotional trauma of his experiences behind. His post-traumatic stress disorder hung over him like a shroud as he mentally and emotionally tried to reconcile the violent horrors he had witnessed with the normalcy of life back home. Looking back, he wlater acknowledged that he didn’t even realize at the time just how deeply his experiences had scarred him until his lunch at the palace with Queen Elizabeth. As one of a small number of honored guests being recognized for their humanitarian aid that fall, Dr. Nott sat next to the Queen, which led to an awkward moment when she asked where he was from, later recounted in his memoir, War Doctor:

I suppose she was expecting me to say, “From Hammersmith,” or something like that, but I told her I had recently returned from Aleppo. “Oh,” she said. “And what was that like?” My mind filled instantly with images of toxic dust, of crushed school desks, of bloodied and limbless children. . . . My bottom lip started to go and I wanted to burst into tears, but I held myself together. Dr. Nott didn’t know what to say that would be appropriate but, of course, wanted to answer the Queen’s question. “I didn’t know what to say,” he explained. “It wasn’t that I didn’t want to speak to her – I just couldn’t.” As it turned out, no words were needed as their eyes met and the queen touched the doctor’s hand. After a few moments had passed, Her Majesty then asked, “Well, shall I help you?” Confused by the Queen’s question, he watched in amazement at what unfolded next: She then had a quiet word with one of the courtiers, who pointed to a silver box in front of her, which was full of biscuits. “These are for the dogs,” she said, breaking one of the biscuits in two and giving me half. Together, we fed the corgis. “There,” the Queen said. “That’s so much better than talking, isn’t it?” Dr. Nott couldn’t believe how intuitively Queen Elizabeth recognized the depth of his trauma. For over twenty minutes, the two of them sat stroking Her Majesty’s beloved corgis, feeding them bits of biscuit. He would later describe her as “warm and wonderful” with “unbelievable” compassion.

*Extract taken from The Faith of Queen Elizabeth by Dudley Delffs Copyright © 2019 by Zondervan. Used by permission of Zondervan.

Dudley J. Delffs, Ph.D., is an awardwinning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. A lifelong Anglophile and descendant of King James I, Dudley lives in Sewanee, Tennessee, with his wife.

His most recent release is The Faith of Dolly Parton (Zondervan, 2018).
Pub date 31 October 2019
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