The Queen is laid to rest; may The King build on her legacy
From right: Prince Andrew; Princess Beatrice; Princess Anne; Camilla, the Queen Consort; Britain's King Charles III; Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; Prince Harry; Prince William; Prince George; and Princess Charlotte watch as the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is placed into the hearse following the State funeral service in Westminster Abbey in central London Monday.

One doesn't have to be a royalist or monarchist to feel a sense that the world has lost one of its most enduring symbols of consistency, dignity and decency in Queen Elizabeth II, as she was laid to rest Monday in a spectacle for the ages.

In that spirit we bid farewell to the longest-serving monarch and someone Jamaicans deeply admired, as evidenced by the tumultuous reception she always received during her visits here.

Of course, Jamaicans would have been proud to see television images flashed by the big cable news outlets of our own Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, representative of the head of State, and Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Mrs Holness at the well-choreographed funeral service in London.

There are many Jamaicans who have no love for the monarchy and, indeed, the movement here to become a republic with our own head of State is growing. The Government, with the tacit support of the Opposition, has vowed to go that route. We hope that in doing so Jamaica will not throw out the baby with the bathwater, notably the UK Privy Council.

To admire The Queen is not necessarily to disavow one's views on the issues about which many remain uncomfortable with Britain over the disastrous consequences of slavery and colonialism that, let us admit, preceded her reign.

We, too, wish she had done more to compensate for the hurt and loss suffered by our forebears. But we will always remember her firm stance against the villainous system of apartheid in South Africa and her solid support for South African President Mr Nelson Mandela, the late freedom fighter.

Readers will recall that, in a rare move against royal tradition in the mid-1980s, she made it known to then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that she supported tougher sanctions against the apartheid regime to help bring it to an end, whereas the first woman head of the British Government had wanted to stick with ineffective negotiations.

The Queen sided with 48 countries of the British Commonwealth and in the end Mrs Thatcher agreed to impose sanctions. Apartheid came to an end in 1994, four years after she was ousted from the House of Commons as prime minister.

We have no doubt that Queen Elizabeth's example as a resolute woman leader would have gone a far way in helping Britain to comfortably choose three women, starting with Mrs Thatcher, as heads of Government, the other two being Mrs Theresa May and recently Mrs Liz Truss.

As we welcome King Charles III, The Queen's successor, we hope that the new monarch will work fervently at addressing some of the outstanding issues such as reparation to the descendants of slavery.

In respect of the clamouring for highly valuable crown jewels and other artefacts stolen from several African countries and India, among others, during British colonialism, while it may be difficult to return them, it is not asking too much for the United Kingdom to pay the countries for their property. That would certainly show good faith, while acknowledging a historical wrong.

We wish King Charles good health, strength and a successful reign that will build on the awesome legacy left by his mother.

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