On behalf of the #bmFamily it’s with heartfelt sadness that I write about the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and send condolences to the Royal family.
For me it’s especially sad and is a loss shared by many millions, played out in the public eye. Even to the last, duty comes first and above all else. It has been a very strange and sad week with the news of Her Majesty’s departing (I feel I can’t say death, as I just can’t bear the thought that it is so permanent and final). In the past few years I have been thinking of what it would be like to hear the news of the end of her era. I’ve discussed it with friends and the impact of the news, as I think we all knew that it had to come – no matter how much we didn’t want it to!!!
As always the impact has been more than expected. I’m sad that after writing all those 100 year congratulation cards she doesn’t get to send one to herself!! I wondered if she would. I think the best way to describe the news, for me personally, is that it is severing a link to my past. The Queen was born the same year, and month, as my mother (who passed away a decade ago) and the Queen was always there in the background, representing continuity and consistency – no matter the madness of the world. I think that’s what I’ll mourn the most.
As Queen and leader, there was no one like her. For me, she epitomised all the best attributes, she was always clear about what she stood for – her duty and her people. It was never in doubt that she was fully committed to it.
I live close to Windsor and have seen her close up a couple of times: at the Windsor Horse Show, where she was just mingling. I’ve seen her driving her car a few times, down the long walk at Windsor, peering over the steering wheel and I’ve seen her at a function at Guildhall. The one abiding memory is that she really was quite petite and that she had the most amazing skin. I admired her discipline and simplicity in what she ate and required. I’ve also been blessed to have private tours around Windsor and Buckingham Palace (one of the many advantages of being a caterer) and anyone who thinks it’s a lavish luxury life of great extravagance and lushness would have been sadly disappointed. Her intolerance of waste and excess was legendary. My father was based at Sandringham, after the war, and his abiding memory was of the Tupperware boxes of ‘ food to be used’ that he remembered seeing her commanding over at lunches and picnics.
Even though I have met people who have charisma and presence, I always felt you knew who she was and what she stood for, she never had those air and graces herself. She understood her position and like all good leaders she knew it was about the wider causes and her duty to her country.
In my mind there is no greater role model of commitment, duty and leadership.