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Death is inevitable even if you are a Queen of England. Elizabeth II had a long and consequential life by all standards, but when a figure who has been a constant is now gone, life for many is indelibly changed.
I feel it more than most, certainly most Americans. I had that august honor as an invited guest to the Garden Party at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. during the Queen’s 2007 State Visit to America. I was then the U.K. policy advisor to the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.
All of Washington who could score an invitation was there: politicos, diplomats, press, and even Mickey Rooney made a cameo. Suddenly, with great orchestral fanfare, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh appeared. It was a surreal, once-in-a-lifetime moment to be that close to timeless, global icons whom I had studied and contemplated for decades. I thought that would be it—a glance of Her Majesty and His Royal Highness—but then to my great surprise, I was among those presented to the Royal Couple by the then-ambassador Sir David Manning who whispered that I was the founder of the Congressional U.K. Caucus.