There was a story in a book about one of the daughters or grand-daughters of Queen Victoria, who was being presented to the French King - can't remember the date but maybe something like 1860. The previous person in the line up was an elderly French countess. The King had a funny expression on his face and explained that he had made a remark to the countess, who had responded that King Louis (the one who was executed) had said the very same thing to her husband when he was a page at the Royal Court. The elderly countess had been young when she married the count who at the time of the marriage was elderly - and so the hand-off over long time spans happens.
I was in the maths class when the teacher was called out and then came back to tell us the King had died. We wondered what a new Queen would be like. She was not all that older than we were. Her father had taken us through the War. Would she just be there, or what? She was astonishing, and did so well. And let's not forget she built the Commonwealth into the institution it now is.
It has also been fascinating to see all the ceremonial that links us to our past.
Talking to my mum (who has been quite emotional about this) has been quite fascinating, She still remembers the day King George VI died and, how as a young girl, she and a lot of her school pals were invited to a well-to-do family home to watch Elizabeth’s coronation on their newly acquired television.
Although Charles has lost his own mother, I’m particularly thankful to still have mine and hope that she goes on to watch the next coronation on her very own HD TV. And perhaps this is the crux of the matter - that a family, beyond all the pomp and circumstance, has lost a much loved member - and that, unfortunately, is something we can or will all relate to one day.
Although not much of a royal watcher myself, I have found the last few days strangely getting to me and have been fascinated by the emerging anecdotes from those that met her and the affection they had for her. A particular favourite story of mine related to her deep love of horses and how she became quite fond of the shetland pony mascot of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, and of how she always asked after the health of the ‘wee man’. This affection didn’t stop her scolding the pony when it tried to make a meal of some flowers she had been presented with.
Times have changed a lot under the late queen but emotions stay the same.
I stand here with tears running down my face,
I'm stunned and cannot move onwards,
People try to urge me beyond my threshold,
Why has this happened now at this moment,
Her peaceful laughter filled reign is unique,
I still weep for the unfairness of it all,
The world needs laughter not tears,
And now laughter breaks into my tears,
I can move on now, so can the whole world.