“I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’
And he replied,
‘Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way.’”
These lines are part of a poem, written and published by Minnie Haskins in 1908. Haskins was a student and later a teacher at the London School of Economics.
This poem caught the public attention and the popular imagination, when Elizabeth handed a copy to her husband, King George VI, and he quoted it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast to the British Empire.
These words meant a great deal to the British public as their country was descending into the dark days of World War II. These words remained a source of comfort to Elizabeth, the mother of the current Queen Elizabeth, for the rest of her life. The Queen Mother had these words engraved on brass plaques and fixed to the gates of the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the King's body was interred. The Queen Mother was also buried there in 2002, and the words of "The Gate of the Year" were read out at her state funeral.