I wrote a letter to the Queen of England and received a reply.
As most of you know, I am adopted and found my first family in 1991. After I was reunited with my first mother, we travelled together to the tiny town in Newfoundland where she grew up. There, I met my Nan and Grandad- two hardworking, salt-of-the-Earth people with enormous hearts and dignified spirits.
Because Newfoundland was a British dominion from 1907 to 1949, my Nan had a special respect and love for Queen Elizabeth. When I wrote to Her Majesty, I had Nan on my mind. I wrote to share the inherited sentiment that I felt for the Queen.
This is the letter.
October 22, 2018
There are very few women in the world whom I admire as much as you. Since I was a child, I have studied you on television and in American newspapers. I am a first born American and never thought I would write to you. However, in these trying times, I feel the urge to tell you that your grace and dignity is appreciated.
I was adopted as an infant, into an abusive family. Yet, even in childhood, I found a reason to hope. I always had a strong faith that my prayers would be answered. They were. My adoptive mother escaped to a shelter for battered families, and went on to work three jobs, raising my adoptive brother and me alone.
Even though our means were few and the road difficult, I felt a kinship and fascination with the royal family throughout my life. Especially, with Your Majesty. I would watch television in awe of your elegance. Your eyes, for some reason, calmed me. I never read a British tabloid, and so your infrequent media appearances were all I had. Yet, I saw behind your sometimes-guarded eyes, the same look of struggle that I saw in the mirror every day. And so, I believed that we had something in common. Which I know sounds silly, but is true if you believe that we are all one mankind. That we, no matter what our lot in life, share the same dreams, fears, needs and hopes. We are all simultaneously divine and human.
As a young woman, I searched for and found my birthmother, who had given me up after moving from a tiny town in Newfoundland, Canada to New York City. It was the way in those days, to force unwed mothers from their children. When I travelled to meet my Grandmother Alfreda Edwards, she had your photo hanging in her small, oceanside home. It was the home where my mother and her siblings were brought up.
As I considered the source of my brown eyes for the first time, you watched over us from a framed portrait on her wall. You became a common admiration which we could share. She adored you and always considered herself to be part of the British Empire. I feel perhaps some of my royal admiration was passed from her.
One reason, that I have decided to write to you, is the television series ‘The Crown’ that is being shown here in the states. While I’m sure they get many nuances wrong and take liberties with the truth in places where they cannot possibly have the insight to know what happened, the series does indeed paint a lovely picture of your struggles, strength, honour and heroic undertaking of what must be one of the loneliest roles on the planet.
For me, it has been a pleasure to learn more about your family’s history and recall the way your photos and appearances enthralled me as a child. Your reign has been an uplifting light in my life, and I want to thank you.
Far too often, people live and leave this earth without putting into words how much others mean to them. So, I decided, that even if this letter never reaches you, at least I have tried to share a sliver of the way your life has mattered. You are a great woman, Your Majesty. God bless you.
One small request. I wonder If you happen to have a self-portrait/photo you can send. I will hang it on my wall as my grandmother did so that my daughter and perhaps someday, a granddaughter will feel the same warmth and honour that I experienced all those years ago.
With sincere gratitude and admiration…
When I received the Queen’s reply, I was overcome with emotion. Her Majesty insists on reading all of her daily correspondence. A Lady in Waiting pens replies with notes from the Queen herself.
So, it occurred to me as I held the Queen’s beautiful letter and photograph, that I had gifted my late grandmother with something rare and magical.
The Queen knows her name.
Blessings for a world where ancestors are honoured and hearts overflow,