For all of us, the Queen has been a constant presence in our lives – as familiar as a member of the family, yet one who has exercised a calm and steadying influence over our country. Most of us have never known a time when she was not there. Her death is not only a tragedy for the Royal family, but a terrible loss for us all.
During her 70 years on the throne – and even before that, as a teenager, reassuring and engaging with children and families disrupted by the Second World War – she has given our lives a sense of equilibrium. While her reign has been marked by dramatic changes in the world, Her Majesty has maintained her unwavering devotion to the UK, the British Overseas’ Territories and the Commonwealth of Nations – and her gentle authority and sound reason have been felt throughout.
She has travelled the world extensively, modernised the Royal family, and is credited with inventing the royal ‘walkabout’, which enabled her to meet people from all walks of life during her visits. As Head of State, she has provided advice and the benefit of long experience to 15 prime ministers during her reign – and met more than a quarter of all the American presidents in the history of the US.
The Queen has been involved in everything that is important to us and which makes us who we are – from state occasions to Royal weddings, and especially at Christmas, with her wise words and reflective annual message.
She has been a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother – but she has been our Queen, and we will miss her beyond measure.