This weekend, Britain has basked in an unprecedented spirit of patriotism and allegiance. And it has been all for one 86 year old lady, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, or to you and me, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Yet, her appeal extends beyond the shores of the British isles and the Commonwealth - and that is because she personifies the possibility of stability in our rapidly changing world. As the Diamond Jubilee celebrations draw to a poignant close, we should all take a leaf out of the Queen's book, for her life has been a "don't panic" message, one which we all need in our daily battles that we choose to fight.
The Queen, having survived her family's multiple failures, a nation transformed by secularism and scepticism and the brutal, populist manipulations of the late Princess Diana, finds herself at the peak of her powers, unchallenged and unchallengeable. On her 12th prime minister, 12th American president and 6th pope, the Queen represents endurance, not quite like a rock - something softer, but firmly impervious. Through her subtle mix of stubborn conservatism, meticulously calibrated remoteness and remarkably pragmatic adaptability, she has forced her critics to admit that the monarchy need not be abolished - not until at least Elizabeth II is succeeded.
Many might not have believed her when she declared her devotion to her public role in a way that is unimaginable to our minds today cultivated to pursue self-fulfilment. In 1947, on her 21st birthday and five years before she ascended to the throne (in 1952), the then Princess Elizabeth gave this radio broadcast from Cape Town in South Africa:
Many of our leaders today often make similar declarations and promise to devote their lives to public service. But few have been able to honour their words with such fervour and dedication as the Queen. At a very young age, the Queen became aware that to succeed in one's struggles, one must change - but only just enough - so as not to compromise one's status quo. And she has managed to achieve that in a flawless manner. How else has the monarchy under her watch managed to survive the 20th century crushings beneath the rubble of modernity during which the Russian, German, Chinese and Ottoman monarchies vanished.
What Queen Elizabeth II's 60 year reign teaches us is that while we all must keep calm and carry on, we should be vigilant of the need to unstiffen that upper lip at times and embrace change. For the true test of victory in any battle, big or small, is whether one stays the same in the aftermath; and the Queen teaches us that to stay the same you must change.