At the great age of 96 the death of our beloved Queen was anticipated, but still came as a shock, and I heard the news with a heavy heart and much sadness.

I have sent a letter of condolence to our new King and all the royal family.

Life has now come full circle as I remember the coronation of our late Queen and the spirit of hope it instilled in those difficult post-war years, following the untimely death of King George VI.

Quite simply, as with so many others, she has been with me all my life, and I will miss her.

We had the privilege of being invited to the last Buckingham Palace garden party in May, a much-delayed invitation because of the Covid pandemic.

Present on that occasion among other members of the royal family, were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, now the Prince and Princess of Wales.

As we walked the lawns, and saw the progress of the young royals, I remembered the story my late father recounted of how, on VE Day, after the balcony appearance, the young Princess Elizabeth was entrusted to the care of Tony, the Earl of Rosslyn, a fellow member with my father of “Phantom”, GHQ Liaison Regiment, part of Churchill’s secret army.

With her father’s blessing, slipping out of the Palace into that heady night of jubilation and celebration, amid the teeming crowds of cheering people, our future Queen went, with her handsome escort, enjoying a rare night of freedom and shedding at least for one precious night the cares that would so soon encompass her.

I saw Her Majesty twice. Once when she opened the sixth form house at The Royal Naval School, and once, when in my battered old Morris 1000, I took my mother as a treat to Royal Ascot Ladies’ Day.

Walking to the paddock, we thought we recognised the rear view of the two ladies in front of us, so close we paused our steps fearing we would step on their heels.

The Queen and the Queen Mother turned, and their smiles shared with us the pure enjoyment of that day.

The pledge our Queen gave on her 21st birthday, she upheld all her life.

For her duty, her steadfastness in the face of adversity, her love and her support, she will be long remembered, and I give her great thanks.

She was an example to us all, and we shall not see her like again. God bless our Queen. God speed King Charles.