President reflects on royal funeral

19.09.2022 - 18:31
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President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson told RÚV this afternoon of the honour he felt, representing the Icelandic nation at the historic moment that was the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II—a leader who united generations since ascending to the throne in 1952.

“It was, as expected, a deeply solemn occasion,” Guðni told RÚV’s Ólöf Ragnarsdóttir in London. “The funeral was charged with respect, and one was of course moved. The music was particularly beautiful, the favourite psalms of the queen, organ playing, choir song, brass instruments. The whole ceremony was significant in every way, and historic as well.”

Guðni said Queen Elizabeth united generations. “She performed military service, took part in protecting her homeland in the Second World War, and departs us now in the year 2022. In this ceremony, times long gone met with the contemporary. Then we look forward and wonder to ourselves how the future will be. What we know is that Queen Elizabeth Did her dues and performed her duties conscientiously and with respect for her country and subjects.”

The national anthem sung at Westminster Abbey, with the congregation singing God Save the King, rather than God Save the Queen, particularly stood out to the Icelandic president: “That was truly a very powerful moment.”

“I have experienced an historic moment,” Guðni said. “And as well as that, when a head of state passes away who came to power in 1952—the same year as the second president of Iceland took on his role—then one really starts to think about the inexorable flow of history.”

“We will see what time reveals,” Guðni says when asked whether the Commonwealth will survive the passing of the queen unscathed. The Commonwealth has developed and changed with time, and will continue to do so, he said—adding that the United Kingdom once controlled a powerful empire, the legacy of which is the Commonwealth of today, and only time will tell what comes next.

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