On October 22, 1977, Prince Charles, who is now King Charles III, Ruler of the British Empire, came to Sanford Stadium in Athens. I didn’t know he was coming. Most of the other 62,000 folks there probably didn’t know he was coming either. But it was UGA Homecoming weekend, and it was not unusual for unexpected things to happen at Homecoming. James Brown, “The Godfather of Soul” was another surprise visitor at the ballgame that Saturday afternoon. At halftime, he climbed up on a plywood stage and with the Redcoat Marching Band got the whole Georgia student section “gettin on the goodfoot” with about 10 minutes of “Dooley’s Junkyard Dogs”. It was great. When Prince Charles was introduced, the whole stadium starting chanting, “damn good Prince, damn good Prince”! That was one unique afternoon, and I wonder if the Prince ever tried to explain to his mother about that football game down in the former British colony of Georgia. If he did, I imagine she smiled and with genuine interest, inquired about the score. It was not good by the way. Kentucky whipped us 33 to 0.
That October day is about as close as I ever got to Royalty, but for 7 decades, a world of people have felt like no matter who you were or where you were, somehow, Queen Elizabeth was your Queen. She was someone who cared deeply about the whole planet. She had a very dim view of bad behavior among people or nations and was an unyielding champion of the shared values, customs and standards of a free and enlightened world. Her life was a study in the traditions of service, honor, devotion and duty and how to preserve them. During her reign, which was the longest of any British sovereign, Queen Elizabeth served as an inspiration not only to her subjects but also to people all around the world in places where there was and still remains no hope or inspiration. To her credit, she stayed out of the political world, but for the people of the United Kingdom and beyond, Queen Elizabeth did much more by simply representing the proper way to do things; whether that is caring for an Empire or simply putting your best foot forward along your own path everyday. Thank you, Queen Elizabeth, Rest in Peace and Long Live the King.