Inspirational Queen worked for us to the end - Sue Webber
We knew it had to come, but did any of us really know how we would feel and act on the death of our country’s longest serving monarch?
The impact was obviously going to be huge, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted the depth of real and raw emotion when the dreadful news came through that our Queen had gone.
When someone the Queen’s age dies, it is a comfort that they were blessed with a long and happy life, with no sense of what might have been. And as she wound down her duties it was clear the job she had done so well over 70 years of service had been successfully completed.
With her son happy and contented, and already taking on many of her roles, and her grandson Prince William already looking and acting like a king in waiting, the succession was secure and there were no more expectations of her.
But there she was, two days before her death, still carrying out the primary function of a constitutional monarch, ensuring the proper transition from one Prime Minister to another, a living embodiment of this country’s continuity, rising above politics and rivalries as she had done throughout her long life.
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Everyone I’ve spoken to speaks of the profound emotional impact seeing the Queen has had on
them and, unusually for Edinburgh, social media has been free of the gripes and groans which always accompany major disruption in the city.
Going into The Scottish Parliament on Monday, the streets were eerily quiet, the city seeming to unite in reverence and honour for a much-loved Queen who had served this country literally almost to her dying breath.
I don’t remember much from Higher English, but I do recall Macbeth and the “pathetic fallacy” of human actions reflected in nature, and maybe Her Majesty had some metaphysical way to clear the gloom and bathe her passage from Balmoral to St Giles in glorious autumn sunshine. It certainly felt like that to me.
On Thursday when her death was announced it was a filthy evening, the rain teeming down from leaden skies, and sitting in a Parliament committee room I could barely see Holyroodhouse through rain and mist. We knew she was unwell, and it felt ominous.
By Sunday as we stood quietly to pay respects as the cortege passed along Queensferry Street it was dry and warm, and by the time she entered the Palace the skies had opened.
Waiting for a bus home, I met a family I knew and their seven-year-old daughter Lois summed up how we all felt. Even at her tender age, she grasped the enormity of what we had just witnessed.
There would not be another queen until we know what children Prince George will have, she said, and we spoke about how she might just see another Queen. Both her mum and I acknowledged it was unlikely we ever would.
Accompanied by his consort, our King addressed Parliament on Monday and his response to the party leaders’ speeches was remarkable and poignant. He understands the weight now on his shoulders and the vital importance of Scotland in the institutions of the United Kingdom, of which the monarchy is the apex.
Long live our noble King.
Sue Webber is a Scottish Conservative MSP for the Lothians