It has been just over a week since we heard the heart-breaking news that the Queen of England has sadly passed away. She reigned for 70 years, this year being her 70th where we saw celebrations throughout the United Kingdom commemorating this momentous occasion. We know many people aren’t hugely royalist and we also have many monarchists throughout the country, but surely no one can deny the huge commitment and amount of work Queen Elizabeth the Second sacrificed in serving our country.
Her journey to the throne began back in Kenya’s Abardare Forest, at Treetops Lodge in February 1952, where famously Elizabeth Windsor went to sleep a princess and woke as a queen. During the 50’s the lodge was very small, very basic 2-bedroom treehouse, today – although not currently open – it is much larger. Sadly, many of the people the young Queen would have met when staying there have since passed on along with many of their stories, but the memories and photos from that time still run strong through many peoples lives. Although the visit to Treetops is one that will go down in history, it is somewhat marred by = a negative view from many Kenyans for this time. Between 1952 and 1960 there was an uprising from the Mau Mau, made up of many of the local tribes from the Kikuyu. This was a rebellion against the British Colonial empire and incredibly violent. Thousands were captured tortured and maimed for rebelling. Although her rise to the throne was shadowed by controversy, it marked a time of change in Kenya, a movement towards becoming independent from British Colonies. The Queen has always maintained a strong relationship with the powers that be in Kenya; Kenya is part of the commonwealth, which bolster’s international business and wonderful education opportunities, travel included within this where people from all over the world, not just the commonwealth, can stay and learn about the historical impacts of this tempestuous time as well as see and experience the culture and wildlife of this fantastic country.
We can and should never be allowed to forget this tumultuous time within Kenya and the relationship with British Colonials at the time, but it really is a double-edged sword. Kenya’s tourism business thrives following their independence and because of this movement, which we will not forget, they have been able to attract people from all over the world, welcoming them with open arms and a willingness to pass on and educate people globally, both through the natural world, culture and historically.
The Queen has been a strong stalwart for the past 70 years. For many, she has been the only constant in our lives, she sacrificed her life to serve the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth and to change relationships to a much more positive level, where a small part of this may have come from this limited amount of time, she spent in the Abaredare Forest. For this, however tempestuous it may have been in the past, we thank you Ma’am.