Colleagues all,

As one who proudly marched in the Royal Marines Band at her coronation it is perhaps incumbent upon me In this period of national mourning to mark the passing of our Sovereign lady Queen Elizabeth II. In her we saw the embodiment of all that is good. She led an exemplary life of dutiful service above us all yet securely alongside us all. Never in all of our country’s long history has any King or Queen maintained such steadfast loyalty to their historic calling. She had greatness thrust upon her at a most tender age yet she grasped the nettle of responsibility without a moments visible hesitation. She knew that her father’s courage in ensuring the royal family stayed to bear the hardship of the 2nd World War, rather than take flight to Canada as had been suggested, was an example that she must follow. Fortified by her faith in the Almighty and supported by her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, she presented herself to the world as a person in whom everyone could trust. In the 70 years of her reign never once did she falter as she met with Statesmen & women the world over as she represented our country in ever changing times. My personal witness of her charismatic charm in dealing with the leaders of Commonwealth countries aboard the royal yacht Britannia far from these shores humbled me. Her passing at Balmoral, where she was happiest, although deeply sad seemed timed to perfection. The last duty she undertook was to ask her new Prime Minister to form a new government so great changes had begun for us all. Right & proper therefore for her son Charles to be given the opportunity to now wear her worthy crown and to take the heavy weight of its responsibility from her shoulders. We have all, I suggest, been hugely impressed by the way he has accepted a role for which he has endlessly waited. We must hope that he has a lengthy tenure during which time he has promised to follow in the footsteps of his ‘darling Mama’ to lead our country to renewed greatness. I know you will join me in wishing him all success.

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