It would be inappropriate for me to dedicate this column to anything other than the passing of Her Majesty, The Queen.
I can’t pretend to bring you new insights into her life, or the impact of her death. I can only speak from my heart and describe how I feel.
It is hard to express the hole her passing leaves in our lives. She was ever-present and for almost all of us she was the only British sovereign we knew.
To think of our country without her in it is to think of a country irrevocably altered.
I can understand why people ask: ‘How can you grieve for someone you never met?’
Cold logic says you can’t. But the emotions of her people say differently, as we have all seen this week.
After all, this is a lady almost none of us knew personally but, at the same time, was one the most famous people in the world.
She was the head of state of one of the world’s most powerful nations but wielded none of the hard, political power of our elected leaders.
For 70 years the Queen embodied the glory and history of the United Kingdom.
She reminded the world what it means to live with stability and security.
She never spoke out on political issues of course. She represented us all. However you vote, whatever your background, whatever your views.
That is what it means to live in a constitutional democracy. And I use the word democracy deliberately.
I know our sovereign is not elected – and thank goodness.
The Queen is a powerful symbol, a concentrated focus for our patriotism. For Queen and country, we cry. She embodies the ideals we strive to attain and fight to preserve.
A popular politician with that kind of symbolic power could be a dangerous, corruptible combination. Much better to teach politicians a little humility and have our prime ministers bow or curtsy to our monarch.
When those 15 prime ministers over seven decades paid due deference to the Queen, they were not just humbling themselves before her, but before everything she represents. Our heritage, our tradition and, most importantly, us, the people.
That’s what the Queen was to me. A loyal servant and an indefatigable custodian of our what makes our country truly great.
We thank her and we shall miss her.