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End of an Era


It is strange to mourn the passing of a woman that fundamentally I did not know, yet I find myself with tears rolling down my cheeks genuinely burdened with a sense of grief and loss.


A feeling that many people, particularly those of us that served, will no doubt have.


I am not a royalist, but it would be the truth to say that the Queen, our sovereign, has been a presence in the background of my life and no doubt all of yours too, since we can remember! (Unless your over the age of 70 of course).


A presence brought even further to the forefront the day I attested into the Royal Air Force those 17 years, 5 months, 3 weeks and 2 days ago, when I pledged allegiance to our Queen.


“I Maria Sioban Howe swear by almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true

allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and

successors and that I will as in duty bound honestly and

faithfully defend her Majesty, her heirs and successors in

person, crown and dignity against all enemies and will

observe and obey all orders of her Majesty, her heirs and

successors and of the generals and officers set over me.”


A proud day, yet on that day as a mere whipper snapper I do not think I truly understood or knew the gravitas of that particular moment in time.


She was an absolute icon, a true role model for everyone but most importantly women, veteran women.


A woman thrust into one of the most prominent positions in the world in her early 20’s, grieving the loss of her beloved father, at a time when both men and women observed strict gender roles and complied with the expectations of society that men would work and women would be the homemaker.


A time when the role, the education and employment of women was under scrutiny. Women leaders were certainly not a noticeable feature in the world during the 1950's, yet Her Majesty stepped into her role with grace and throughout her reign personified leadership, dignity and strength.


Did she get everything right? Probably not, she was human after all. A fact the media often neglected to remember.


The world has lost a remarkable woman today, a true change-maker and constant presence in an ever changing world, who as she said in her Christmas speech in 1957 gave her heart and devotion to all of the people in our brotherhood of nations.


Proven by the fact that just 2 days prior to her passing at Balmoral she was working and displaying unwavering dedication to the fulfilment of her duties as our Monarch.


The announcement of the death of our Queen is the end of the Elizabethan era, a triumphant 70-year reign, breaking barriers, records and monarchical traditions along the way, that the whole nation will mourn.


For me personally the loss of the soveriegn, the head of our armed forces and my ultimate boss, for that formative period of my life, leaves me mourning not just for her death but for the silent yet deafening reminder of the end of another era... my service to her.


Whilst we will mourn her, my heart genuinely goes out to those that have lost a mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend.


Serving my Queen and Country has been the proudest privilege of my life.


Rest Easy Ma’am


End of Era




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