I woke up at 3.30am this morning, to the news that the Queen had passed.
For a moment, it felt surreal. Like losing a long lost relative I had never met.
Living in the US, there was a curisoity about the Royals.
Living in Australia, there was a general fondness for the Queen (mostly).
Living in the UK, there was a complete obsession.
There were those who adored her, other’s who had very strong opinions on the Royal Family and their role in the world. Either way, the woman was one of the most recognisable faces in the world.
As time went by, I grew to truly respect and admire the role she had to play in the ever changing, uncertain world we live in.
I quickly texted a friend in the UK and she commented: “We have seen the last female Monarch in our lifetime. She was a true girlboss.”
Modern terms for women who are leading, disrupting trends and defining success and life on their own terms.
The Queen: A ladyboss?
In fact, most definitely.
If we examine how this woman led the UK over the past 70 years, the same words we use for some of today's female icons sounds fitting: Trailblazer. Game Changer. Formidable. Iconic.
Whether you deem yourself a royalist or not, here are 6 facts about Queen Elizabeth that are too brilliant to ignore:
1. Service wasn’t just theory to her. She was the only woman in the royal family to have served in the military. At 18, she joined as a junior officer, in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), where she learned car mechanics and truck driving. At the tender age of 21, she was famously quoted saying: "I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service." She never wavered from that commitment over the next 70 years.
2. She knew her own mind (and heart). The famous love story of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip was one of fairytales, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll find Prince Philip was not the ‘Palace’s’ first choice for her husband. But for her, there was only one choice. She went with her heart, against counsel and chose love. Total ladyboss move.
3. She adapted to media changes. In 1957, she made the first televised Christmas broadcast, which had up until this point, only been heard on radio. Adapting to the modern TV medium and changing the way the Royal’s communicated with people around the world. Later, the broadcast would be pre-recoded and even available on a podcast. Even if it took some time, the Queen embraced modern media and understood the importance of using every medium to connect with her audience.
4. She always supported her family. Even among divorce. And family strife. And scandal. Let’s be honest, we all have our own family dramas to deal with at times. I can only imagine the conversations that happen behind the closed doors when you are the family that represents the Monarch. And yet, she still showed unity and grace, even among the number of tumultuous times we have seen her carry on through . She was steady. Calm. And all class.
5. She made time for passions. She had her things. She loved horses. She had dogs. She enjoyed champagne. She was deeply committed to serving her country, but she still made time for things she loved. Hear that ladies? You get to serve, and still enjoy your life and be your own person: title or no title.
6. She never retired. She was the longest reigning Monarch in Britain. Ever. Even after losing her husband. They say you never retire from a role that you love. Did she love it? Or did she just feel compelled to see it through until the end? We don’t really know, but if you ever want a role model for sticking through your purpose no.matter.what – here we are. Queen Elizabeth showed us what real staying power looked like. What 'finishing well' really takes.
I could go on.
There is no way I can do justice to the legacy Queen Elizabeth has left with this one little post.
But I will say this: As women, we own this particular Queen some gratitude.
Whether you are a ‘Royal fan’ or not, you can’t ignore the fact that this woman served and gave this role everything she had. And yet… she loved, she laughed, she showed up, she broke through some barriers, and made the throne her own.
In her last Christmas broadcast, she spoke about losing her beloved husband and the grief that comes with life.
'But life of course consists of final partings as well as first meetings...'
So it is true again today.
To the original ladyboss who has become an iconic role model for women around the world: thank you for showing us how to lead and live with: faith, fortitude, grace and strength.
May we all lead a life so well.
Rachel Reva is a publicity strategist, writer and founder of 'Life On Her Terms Media' . She has lived in the US, UK and Australia. You can sign up to her mailing list here.