My personal contact with Queen Elizabeth consisted of waving a flag once at a black car and reading a letter from the Palace to my nine-year-old son. But when I consider her longevity and extraordinarily healthy and engaged old age, I realise that she was the ultimate model for aging positively.
We don’t all have cooks or personal physicians, but we can still learn from her example. She seems to have covered all the core factors for a healthy happy old age.
- Good diet: check. She apparently favored simple foods, maybe a bit heavy on animal protein but I’m guessing she mostly ate what her cooks made from scratch, not stuff out of packets.
- An active social life: check. The Queen’s life was heavily peopled, and we can safely say she had a strong network of family and friends.
- Exercise: check. Horse riding, dog walking, hours and hours of standing and walking and hand-shaking most weeks.
- Taking your meds: surely she did this. Her personal physician would have seen to that.
- Exercising the brain: absolutely. Imagine the towers of official papers she had to read every week to stay up to date with politics in the UK, the Commonwealth, and the world.
- Commitment to a cause greater than oneself; having a mission to fulfill. Yes and yes and yes with bells on. This kind of commitment is a gift in older people and is frequently associated with a grand old age, in every sense. Long ago, Queen Elizabeth publicly dedicated her whole life to serving the people, and she carried out her pledge superbly until two days before she died.
Rarely has the life and death of one woman signified so much to so many. Tributes and commentaries will carry on for days or weeks after today, the day she died, aged 96. Hers was an extraordinary role, freakishly important to the world. I look forward to reading more analysis of her reign and watching the British monarchy change and adapt to the world we live in now.
Meantime, I hope you will forgive me for briefly reducing a monumental royal lifetime to a single common (and I do mean common) denominator: old age. For if anyone aged well and aged positively, it was surely Queen Elizabeth II.
PS I just read this: “When she was coronated.” I think the word is still “crowned”. But hey, we could say, “I coronated them” to mean “I infected them with a coronavirus.”
PPS This post will be missing some vital parts, as my computer went to the doctor today. So did my cat. Not a good day. But don’t worry, Ursula will recover. Macbook Air, not so sure.