The soul, the heart, the breath of Great Britain

Rabia Aftab ia a  GP in North Lincolnshire


I came to this country at the age of 14 and, like many other settlers, gradually and steadily adapted to the British society, culture and norms.

The Royal family was the soul of Great Britain and I had always been fascinated by them. I followed royal engagements on the television and admired their unique accessories, garments, gestures and mannerisms. I struggled to comprehend the existence of a functioning ‘Queen’ in this modern day and age as I had only read about kings and queens and princes and princesses in fairy tales. I questioned Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s role in the midst of well engraved political systems that were running the country.

My appreciation of the Queen’s majesty grew further when we took a tour of the Buckingham palace and the Tower of London on a family vacation. Royal guards guided the crowds through beautiful pristine dining rooms with booklets stating Royal cutlery etiquettes, long hallways with classy gigantic portraits, reserved mysterious corridors with doors leading to private residences and breath-taking collections of the Royal jewels. I was delighted to stroke one of her majesty’s beloved horses, named ‘Lahore’ (my birth town!)- rumours were that Her Majesty had brought the horse from one of her visits to Pakistan. Memories of that vacation are embedded deep and will never fade.

I finally met her in the comfort of my home a few months ago when I started watching ‘The Crown’…

Studying medicine, career progression, marriage and having children all meant total consumption into the here and now of life but the desire to learn more about this mysterious personality, Her Majesty The Queen, was still there. I finally met her in the comfort of my home a few months ago when I started watching ‘The Crown’ (a TV series on Netflix). I am aware that the programme may not have been a 100% true reflection of the Royal family but it certainly generated heartfelt empathy and respect for Our Queen- a person as a whole. I gained insight into her making, the hardships during her reign, the difficult decisions she had had to make and her relationships with various political leaders. I started loving Our Queen- her faith, her dutifulness, her sincerity, her will to keep going. I was sad to hear such a figure was no longer among us.

Our National health service (NHS) is also another distinctively attractive feature of Great Britain- it is the heart of the nation. Not many countries can take pride in a free healthcare system with equal access to everyone regardless of their background. Embedded at the core of our NHS, our GPs (general practitioners), are the breath of this foundation. Just like our Queen, our GPs have also faced extremely challenging and turbulent times (the most obvious example being the COVID-19 pandemic). Similarly, our GPs have been a constant presence and source of stability for the nation. Their will to keep going, come may what, and their sense of duty towards the wellbeing of their patient is a highly admirable and respectable trait. The soul of Great Britain (Our Queen) has left behind many lessons, the heart (Our NHS) will keep beating until the end. The breath (Our GPs) will be there to fulfil the duty as ever so long the heart beats. Life goes on and will go on. The work of general practice will continue. May Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rest in peace.

Deputy Editor’s note: The BJGP response to the sad event of the death of Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022) is here (along with opportunities for readers to post responses to the Journal).

Featured photo: Bookshop display by Andrew Papanikitas 2022

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1 year ago

You’ve explained it better.

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