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Queen Elizabeth II

Yesterday we all heard the incredibly sad news that the Queen passed away aged 96. She was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and head of state for 70 years, taking over as sovereign at the tender age of 25 when her father King George VI died. 

Immediately, hundreds of mourners began to gather and lay flowers outside Buckingham Palace, honouring the memory of a beloved Queen whose unwavering duty and devotion to her country had seen her still at work every day until the age of 96, most recently only on Tuesday welcoming in her 15th Prime Minister, Liz Truss at Balmoral. 

Tributes have also poured in from world leaders after the news sent shockwaves around the world. During her 70-year reign, she has seen 15 Prime Ministers and countless world leaders come into power, including 14 American presidents. 

Boris Johnson, Prime Minster till earlier this week, captured it well when he said:  

“In the hearts of every one of us there is an ache at the passing of our Queen, a deep and personal sense of loss – far more intense, perhaps, than we expected.”   

I have been struck by how true this is – family, friends and colleagues, whether ardent royalists or not, have all been surprised perhaps by how upset we all feel.  We do indeed feel a personal sense of loss – after all one of the constants in our life is no longer there.  In a time of constant change and challenge, the Queen provided a symbol of stability and a beacon of continuity, part of the fabric of our life, and the only monarch most of us have ever known. 

There are many moments to remember in her long life and reign, including some recent very humorous ones – who can forget her memorable ‘James Bond’ performance with Daniel Craig at the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, or more recently her afternoon tea with Paddington Bear and the marmalade sandwich in her handbag! 

She was famous for wearing bright colours – she said this was so she could stand out, once saying: “I can never wear beige, because nobody will know who I am!” 


From her 21st birthday in 1947, where she famously said: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service”, she has shown unwavering commitment to this vow throughout her reign, holding fast to ‘old-fashioned’ values that perhaps we don’t praise as much as we used to – duty, honour, integrity. She also had humility, seeing herself as a servant of her people – signing her thank you letter to the people on her Diamond Jubilee as ‘your servant’.  She reigned for 70 years, saying at her jubilee earlier this year: “I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family.”  

She also had kindness and warmth and a genuine interest in people, and encouraging people to be kind, compassionate strong and caring to others. She said many powerful things over the years – memorably her words after 9/11: “Grief is the price we pay for love”, and “None of us has a monopoly of wisdom and we must always be ready to listen and respect other points of view.”  

Perhaps the words from her first Christmas Broadcast to the nation on TV in 1957 are words to remember her by: “It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is much more difficult.”  

So let us be kind, be tolerant and build and cherish each other in her memory.   

Val Pope

Business Manager,

Early Years Alliance.

Unsettled. Overwhelmed. Discombobulated. If you’ve been surprised by the intensity of your emotions since hearing news of the Queen’s death, you’re in good company.

A psychologist explains how to speak to children about the Queen’s death in this article from Women’s Health Website.
The NSPCC also has advice on their website about how to have difficult conversations with children.
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