In 1920 Chatto and Windus published the collected poems of Wilfred Owen, widely regarded as the finest of the First World War poets. This volume included “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”, Owen’s ironic depiction of the life and death of those soldiers raised on the Homeric principle that it is “sweet and fitting to die for one’s country”. All the more ironic that this volume was published posthumously.
In 2022, the British are recently bereaved. The loss of our Monarch, after 70 years of quiet, yet endlessly important, guidance, has left a country struggling to come to terms with life without Her Majesty, Elizabeth II. The intensity of the Pandemic, and its hangover of conflict and economic stress, had tested Britons’ stoicism. That we lose someone so soon afterwards whose face and title adorn our money, stamps, even post boxes is likely to produce an emotional response not seen in decades.
As ever with loss, we strive to see an upside, a positive. As I write, this appears to be a pride in the achievements of our Queen. Her longevity is a constant reference, placed in the context of fifteen Prime Ministers who “kissed the hand”. Her quiet intellect is revealed as previously circumspect attendants speak of a knowledge of the world and a truly global view. Above all, her success in steering a centuries old institution through the changes wrought on Britain and the world around it since 1952 is now allowed a favourable historic analysis.
In my opinion, the world is poorer for her passing but blessed that she did her job. She may have one task left to complete. One last role for the longest serving Monarch in Britain’s history.
The celebration of her life and the coronation of her successor could bring the world’s current leaders together for the first time. Westminster Abbey, long the location of significant ceremony, will host a gathering of VIPs in which forum rancour and dispute could be put aside or even resolved.
It would be fitting if the passing of the Queen provides the very moment when we pause, reflect, and decide that we should face the near future with the same resolve and spirit of co-operation with which we saw down the Pandemic. One last herculean effort from a woman who was known, globally, for doing her job, and doing it well.
Time, perhaps, to revise Owen’s title. Dulce et decorum est pro patria contendere.
It is sweet and fitting to strive for one’s country.
Scott Fulton is an economics graduate and a capital markets specialist. From 1988 until 2000, he worked within London’s equity capital market as an Extel rated analyst in the Building and Construction sector for, amongst others, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and ABN Amro. From 2000, Scott moved into financial public relations and investor relations (“FPR” and “IR”). He was the director responsible for IR and M&A at Financial Dynamics (now FTI), Citigate Dewe Rogerson (CDR), Just Retirement plc (now Just Group) and Asda Burson Marsteller (UAE). On returning from the Gulf in 2015, Scott re-joined investment analysis at Whitman Howard (recently sold to Panmure Gordon) before moving into Proxy Solicitation, specialising in M&A, at Equiniti plc. Through his professional career, Scott has focused on and developed skills in investor relations