Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

As children, we looked up at the castle. A Union Jack fluttering in the breeze would make the tourists wonder if Her Majesty was at home. Not today, we would say with a smile. That was in Windsor, and when she came to Ascot, we would picnic in the park, hoping to catch sight of the person who, even then, was probably the best-known person in the world.

Best known and little known, keeping her counsel when everyone else was telling us what they thought. Mysterious and yet iconic, because unlike those Captains of England, Archbishops of Canterbury or Prime Ministers who change with the seasons and the years, there was only ever one Queen.   

Elizabeth was the person and The Queen was the role she played. She seemed as everlasting as the Tower of London or Stone Henge and, compared with those great landmarks, Her Majesty was only getting started. And then she was gone.

Popstars and public figures have their ups and downs. The Queen never put a foot wrong. No personal scandals, no public gaffes, no times when she let the side down. Millions of people wanted to meet her and, when they did, they gave the impression that she had brightened not just their day but also their life.

The Queen was more than liked – she was loved. It’s why she will be more than remembered, she will be hugely missed. Because whatever you think of the Monarchy, we had, in her, someone who commanded affection and respect around the world. Someone whose sense of duty and public service lasted right until the end. She was, to coin an age-old phrase, a living legend.  

The sadness that I feel is unusual for me. I’m not really a mourning person. But I do feel that we have lost someone who was truly good, and completely dedicated to this country.

Today, children are looking up at the castle. The flag is flying at half-mast. The Queen is not there. Not today.

On every banknote and stamp, we see reminders of her face. But we don’t need them. In our memories and in the stories we will tell, her smile and her warmth will never be forgotten. May she rest in peace.

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