A letter form GH's Editor-in-Chief

·3-min read
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images

As I write this letter – one I hoped I would never have to write – I have a box of tissues by my side and a huge lump in my throat. News of The Queen’s passing has just been announced so I’d like to share a few moments of reflection with you.

Our beautiful Queen. The embodiment of decency, grace, commitment, resolve, resilience, humility, thoughtfulness, dedication and so, so much more. We have this year celebrated her incredible Platinum Jubilee when she proved, yet again, after seven decades of service, to be a force for good. The glue that united us and brought out the best in this country.

In her first television Christmas broadcast in 1957, The Queen declared: "I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else — I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations." And, oh my goodness, did she deliver on that promise.

Photo credit: DAVID VENNI, David Venni
Photo credit: DAVID VENNI, David Venni

She was a head of state who provided a gentle guiding hand and words of wisdom, always timed for precisely when they were needed – for instance, recently during the worst days of the pandemic: "We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return; we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again."

Of course, everyone reading this will have their own personal memories of The Queen’s reign and how it has touched them. I’ve shared before how one of my earliest happy memories is of being at primary school and taking part in wonderful celebrations to mark the Silver Jubilee. My mother, meanwhile, talks about being a girl soon after the Second World War and having a lovely conversation with the then Princess Elizabeth in Windsor Great Park, when she passed her on a walk - the Princess out riding one of her beloved ponies. And my daughters treasure the letters they received from The Queen’s aides after they sent her pictures to mark her Golden Jubilee when they were little. They and I also remember being blown away on a visit to Edinburgh a few years ago, when we toured the Royal Yacht Britannia and saw The Queen's very small, incredibly ordinary bedroom and her homely, unshowy living room.

And I guess that was one of the most impressive qualities of our Queen – her humility. She didn’t live her daily life wallowing in luxury. Of course, she wore a tiara or crown when the occasion demanded it, but it so clearly wasn’t what made her tick. It was the job she was devoted to, rather than the trappings of it.

I can’t sign off without also remembering with you a woman with a megawatt smile and a brilliant sense of humour. How could we forget London 2012 and The Queen’s appearance with James Bond to kick off the Olympic Games? And this year she did it again, appearing in that touching film with Paddington Bear and revealing where she kept her marmalade sandwiches! She had the ability to surprise and delight us and leave us with a big grin on our faces.

So that is how we should, perhaps endeavour to feel now – enormously sad at her passing, but hugely grateful for having had her as our Queen. How magical she was. How sorely we will miss her. And how very, very lucky we have been.

Gaby

You Might Also Like