Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II

The whole country, indeed much of the world, was left reeling last week by the loss of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. In spite of her advanced years and recent frailty, her passing came as a palpable shock. Made more shocking because we had seen her only two days before, welcoming in the new prime minister.

It is certain that we will all remember where we were when we heard the sad news. We had tickets for a show and were having a pre-theatre dinner when the news channels confirmed what we had all feared since the news alerts about concerns for her health had first come through.

Suddenly, the theatre had lost its appeal, and seemed completely innapropriate. Being confined for the next two and half hours watching a frenetic display of music and dance was not what we wanted to do. We wanted to talk about our Queen, and watch and listen to the news coverage. To share with others the surprisingly raw emotions we were feeling.

So, we abonded thoughts of the theatre and headed into the wet Soho evening, making our way slowly towards Buckingham Palace. We were amazed and gratified by the amount of others, locals and tourists, who had seemingly decided to do the same. And as we crossed Piccadilly Circus we joined the throngs viewing, photographing and videoing the massive tribute to Her Majesty already on display.

When we reached The Mall, we were met with similar scenes. Although the news was only an hour old, hundreds of people had already congregated. Umbrellas raised against a steady downpour, we gathered, one large group connected by a deep sense of sorrow as darkness fell. Undeterred by the weather, we waited as close as was allowed to the gates of Buckingham Palace.

While now is a time of great national sadness, the passing of Her Majesty will mean something different to each of us. Whether or not we had met her in person, the relationship we had with her was somehow personal. Through watching her Christmas address, seeing her at Royal Ascot or laughing at her with Paddigton Bear, we all knew her in our own way.

One would need to be almost eighty years old to remember a time when Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t our Monarch, and therefore, we enter a new era. So, as we mourn and give thanks for the life of Queen Elizabeth II, and we welcome King Charles III, we look forward to building a future of peace and prosperity for all. A future that would have made Her Majesty proud.