On the 8th September 2022, at the age of 96, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations passed away at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, bringing to an end her near 71-year reign, a reign that oversaw unprecedented social, political and technological change, and leaving behind what will likely be regarded as one of the most significant and enduring Legacies the world has ever known.
Much has been and will likely continue to be said of our late Queen’s life and reign. Many have already sought to provide insight into the many faces of Britain’s longest reigning monarch and the world’s second longest verified reigning sovereign in history; the young Princess, the skilled mechanic, the devoted wife, the working parent, the dutiful Queen and the loving grandmother, to name a few.
While some may have chosen to reflect on Her Majesty’s reported financial wealth, it is clear that our overwhelming interest lies with Her Majesty’s character, values, passions and achievements, as well as the impact of her life and reign, not only on those closest to her, but to the 2.5 billion commonwealth citizens she served, passionately and tirelessly, as well as global leaders and everyday people, past & present, from all around the world, touched by her kindness, her wisdom, her humour and of course, her unwavering sense of duty.
This emotional wealth is the heart of Legacy. It is the footprint we make in the sand, the memory of ourselves we leave behind, the sincerest reflection of who we are and the real face of our true wealth. And so, in the wake of Her Majesty’s passing, we may find ourselves asking – “what impact do our lives have on the people around us?” “what responsibilities do we have towards ourselves and others?” and “what can Queen Elizabeth II’s reign teach us about life and Legacy?”:
- The emotional Legacy that we leave behind reaches further and touches more deeply than any financial inheritance - we may never fully realise the extent to which our lives impact the world and the people in it, so it is important that we live our lives, make our choices and engage with others actively, deliberately and mindfully, so that the Legacy we leave behind is a Legacy we can be proud of.
- Our greatness lies in what we give, not what we take - as well as a combined total of twenty-four children, grandchildren & great-grandchildren, Her Majesty reportedly supported more than 600 charities over the course of her reign, including Cancer Research UK, the British Red Cross and Barnardo’s. Our Personal & Social Legacies make up our Emotional Legacy, reflecting what we have valued rather than the value of what we have owned, and provide future generations with the necessary knowledge, skills and experiences to offer their own unique and positive contributions to the world.
- Emotional and not Financial Wealth, is what prepares us for our future - for wealthy families (and depending on your definition of wealth, all families may be seen as ‘wealthy’), professional advisors can assist in the management of financial wealth, but it is the lessons we are taught, the examples we’re shown and the skills we learn that prepare each and every one of us for the challenges and responsibilities of our future roles, both the ones we choose and those we are born to.
Above all, the 70 years & 214 day reign of Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor reminds us that one of the most important and necessary values for achieving the preservation of our true wealth and creating a meaningful and lasting Legacy, is integrity; the quality of having strong moral principles and being whole, unified, consistent and undivided.
Speaking on her 21st birthday on the radio from Cape Town, the young Princess Elizabeth declared to all that her whole life would be devoted to our service. While some may choose to use this moment to question the benefits or the ongoing relevance of the British Monarchy, there are few who would be able to deny that that is precisely what she did, and, that the value of such a Legacy, a Legacy of integrity, is now, and will always be, immeasurable.
Andrew Dodson writes in a personal capacity as CEO and Founder of The Wealth for Life Partnership.
The Wealth for Life Partnership cares about helping you to understand your own giving intentions and preferences – to find out more please visit www.thewealthforlifepartnership.co.uk
Hereditas is the first and only Legacy Planning process of its kind in the UK – to find out more please visit www.hereditasuk.co.uk
For more on how your legacy could support those affected by liver disease and liver cancer long into the future, please visit our Legacy page.
The British Liver Trust always recommends you take independent financial advice.