It is a truth universally acknowledged that if we do not suffer from our ancestors’ sins, then we have no need of their virtues. This truth has about as much validity as the one I’m riffing on, but it is if anything more firmly believed. To our great loss.

The late Queen Elizabeth II played the hand she was dealt about as well as it could possibly have been played, and this required her to exercise virtues that few of our public figures today even know exist: dutifulness; reliability; silence; dignity; fidelity; devotion to God, family, and nation. We shall not look upon her like again; her death marks the end of a certain world. Its excellences, as well as its shortcomings, are worthy of our remembrance. 

This may perhaps be a good time to listen to the small but sumptuous motet that Ralph Vaughan Williams composed for the Queen’s coronation: