They say, ‘a week is a long time in politics.’
But this last week may have been one of the longest weeks I can ever remember – in politics or otherwise.
At the start of the week, The Conservative Party had just elected a new leader who Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II would appoint as her fifteenth Prime Minister the following day.
Many commented on how frail Her Majesty looked, but also on the customary brightness and charm of her presence which never seemed to leave her.
Wednesday last week, was probably about the most ‘normal’ day of the week – despite being the event of Liz Truss’s first Prime Minister’s Question Time.
Thursday started with the much-anticipated news from the new Prime Minister that an ‘Emergency Price Guarantee’ would be applied to people’s energy bills - ensuring that, from October, the average British household would pay no more than £2,500 per year for their energy bills for the next two years.
That should have been the main news of the week.
Sadly, during a debate on the subject, we heard the news that The Queen’s doctors were, ‘concerned for Her Majesty’s health.
At 6:30pm on Thursday 8 September 2022, Buckingham Palace released a statement saying simply, ‘The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.’
This devastating news didn’t really hit me until I saw atop the Foreign Office building, one of many flags around the country – and the world – that had been lowered to half-mast.
Later that evening, I joined several colleagues and thousands of others at the gates ofBuckingham Palace – almost completely oblivious to the pouring rain.
On Saturday, in a rare sitting day of Parliament, I was grateful to have the opportunity to speak in tribute to The Queen.
I did so on behalf of myself and the people of Banff and Buchan and offered my condolences to His Majesty King Charles III and the Royal Family.
For they have lost a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother.
For most of us alive today, Her Majesty has ALWAYS been there – a constant and reassuring presence.
From the ashes of the Second World War to the Covid-19 Pandemic in more recent years, she has provided comfort and inspiration to people right across our United Kingdom.
The Queen was the longest serving monarch in British history, celebrating – as we all did, as a country – her 70-year Platinum Jubilee in June this year.
We have all heard stories of The Queen’s warmth, charm and humour and how well she could make people feel at ease.
In Scotland we saw the Queen at her most relaxed and happy, particularly on her regular visits to her much-loved Balmoral in West Aberdeenshire.
I know it will have been a comfort to her and her family, to spend her last days in the place she loved so much.
The United Kingdom, The Commonwealth and the whole world will come together in the coming days to mourn the passing of a great, perhaps the greatest, world leader
And as we mourn the passing of her long life and reign of loyal service, we will also remember and celebrate those unique qualities which made her such a well-loved and highly respected monarch all over the world.
May Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth The Second rest in peace.
And, God Save The King