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A nation in mourning

We've lost our monarch who reigned for an incredible 70 years!

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

As much as everyone knew that at 96 this day was not too far away, it is nonetheless something a lot of people did not want to think about or indeed face. Why is that? For one, because she was a much loved monarch who devoted her life to duty and putting service to her country above all else. She was a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wife and sister, who stayed humbled and dignified at all times. 

In a world full of so called •celebrities•, she was silently the biggest of them all (and without trying).

So what was it about the Queen that has brought about a grieving nation(s), with full coverage around the world? She epitomised hope, stability, comfort, selflessness and empathy. She was - metaphorically speaking - our rock. In an increasingly uncertain world we have now lost someone who symbolised certainty, well at least for the past 70 years. It feels like we are a nation of orphans.

I have been asked this week why I was tearful on Friday when I didn't know her or ever met her? If you feel bereaved at her loss, know this: for everyone of us there are different reasons - but collectively it's because a big •safe and re-assuring• presence that has been with us for all or most of our lives is no longer. Loss can also be accumulative. If people haven't grieved for individual losses, it can compound. There's also something soothing about grieving collectively. It somehow gives us free permission to do so, without seeming weird or too vulnerable. And we must not forget that so many are still struggling with losses of all kinds following the pandemic.

I went to Buckingham Palace last Friday to pay my respects. It was impossible not to be profoundly moved and affected. I feel gratitude in having lived in the UK for the past 42 years under such incredible female leadership. Whatever your view on the monarchy, I'm grateful for the values and virtues the Queen represented. She was and will remain an inspiration to me. Thank you Ma'am for everything - for your kindness, decorum, integrity, humility and humour. 

"Grief is the price we pay for love" said Queen Elizabeth II in September 2001, ten days after the 9/11 attacks. These words are very poignant right now as we mourn our longest-serving monarch. We have a new King - but for now, I recognise the scale of our collective loss and the formidable gap that the Queen leaves behind in national life. This is a moment to celebrate an historic reign, and unite in collective gratitude.

Thank you ma'am.