A beloved monarch

It was clear by early afternoon that this was not a simple health scare. The gathering at Balmoral of her children was clear indication that this was the final act of her Majesty’s life. Details were sketchy, as perhaps they should be, but ‘medical supervision’ is a bleak euphemism for pain relief and dignified management once the outcome is clear.

The formal announcement later in the afternoon was sombre, measured and simple. Her Majesty was as dignified in death as she was in life.

I find it difficult to express my feelings clearly. Perhaps I am, like much of the nation, experiencing my own personal recapitulation of bereavement. Certainly, I find myself reflecting on the death of my own mother and father and my feelings around that. And, at the end of the day, the Royal family are still a family first and foremost. Stiff upper lip extends only just so far.

Much has been said of her longevity, dignity, honesty and perpetuation of what might now be considered old-fashioned values. There is little I can add to what will undoubtedly be a torrent of analysis over the coming days and weeks. Wherever one’s political leanings lie, whether left or right, red or blue, they are today irrelevant. Whether monarchist or republican, let’s seek unity not division .

The clocks have stopped on one of the most remarkable reigns in history. But they have also brought to an end the life of a much loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

The family needs time to grieve. And grieving rarely follows a timetable.