Queen Elizabeth II loved Scotland and Scotland loved her – Ian Murray MP

Edinburgh was the centre of the world for the entire month of August for the festivals, but little did we know that it would become the centre of the world again so quickly, following the passing of Her Late Majesty the Queen.

And didn’t our beloved City do itself proud with the quiet, respectful mourning and contemplation of those who lined the streets, attended the proceedings, and paid their respects at her lying-in-state. All those who watched from home would have been pleased and impressed by how our home city responded.

I lost count of the number of people who said, after the coverage of the coffin being driven from Balmoral to Edinburgh “what beautiful countryside and a beautiful city”.

These sentiments were shared by Queen Elizabeth II. She loved Scotland and Scotland loved her.

She passed at her favourite place, Balmoral, in her favourite Scotland. That’s what made the events of the last few days in Edinburgh more moving.

She touched so many hearts. Those that met her never tire of telling their story and those that never met her always wished or thought they had.

That’s hardly surprising given her name adorns dozens of buildings and places across Edinburgh and thousands across the country. She is on every pound we’ve ever spent and every letter we’ve ever sent.

More intimately perhaps was the family Christmas tradition, as it was for the Murray family, to invite her into our living rooms at 3pm every Christmas day. Generations crowded around the TV to listen to her.

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and their children in the grounds of Balmoral Castle in 1960 (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

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I was humbled to be asked to make a short tribute in Parliament on Friday. I said that we must remember she was a mother, grandmother, and a great-grandmother to her own grieving family. But she was also the mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to the nation.

And although she was ours, we lent her to the world.

As French President Emmanuel Macron remarked in his tribute: “She was your Queen but to the rest of us she was The Queen.”

She was revered around the world not just for being Queen but for her sense of duty, public service, decency, and dignity.

She was the glue that held the nation together through the good times and the bad. Boosting morale after the Second World War and also during Covid, she gave us so much.

She stole the show at the London Olympics opening ceremony and upstaged her own Platinum Jubilee celebrations by taking tea with Paddington.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a true British icon, and we will all miss her dearly.

The new King Charles III has a lot to live up to but, I think, he has made a great start at a time of huge personal sadness and pain.

There will be an inevitable debate about the monarchy and freedom of speech with a sense of “what next?” But, for now, let’s follow in the footsteps of all those who made the last few days in Edinburgh so poignant and give her the send-off she deserves.

I think the over-arching sentiment from tributes to the Queen has been to say, “thank you”.

So, thank you to everyone involved in making Edinburgh so proud this week and thank you to Her Late Majesty.

Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South