You have to have a heart of steel if you didn’t shed a tear when hearing the news of our incredible regent Queen Elizabeth passing away.

Queen Elizabeth II was thrust onto the royal throne after her father George VI died of lung cancer in his sleep. The Queen had little time to adjust to being the figurehead of Britain as unlike others, who understand the hierarchy from birth, the Queen never thought she would make it to throne, and that’s just the way she liked it, as she looked forward to life as a normal country girl.

Queen Elizabeth

However, Edward VIII abdicated leaving his younger brother George as King. Elizabeth, the eldest of his two girls became the natural heir. The Queen was close to her father yet within minutes of his passing she was told to put her grief aside to rule over the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

Prince Philip (who was known as the Duke of Edinburgh only at the time) was even less pleased to be thrust into the limelight although he did enjoy the power. Queen Elizabeth not only had to put her marriage further down the priority list but her children and every other relationship too, as the Crown became the most important duty of her life.

In reality, the Queen gave up her entire life to give service to our country and its people, everything, and put Great Britain and the crown first at every turn, alienating numerous people, and leaving her quite lonely at the top but she did it with dignity, pride and a wicked sense of humour and humility. She may not have known it at the time but she was born for the role and it’s hard to imagine anyone else filling those shoes with such sophistication and class, knowing when to do nothing, knowing when to act. Knowing how to keep one’s council and presenting a blank page to the public lest anything be taken out of context.

Price Phillip Smiling

For anyone (Twitter, I’m looking at you) not to admire and respect this enormous service to us is abhorrent. Royalist or not, she worked until days before she fell asleep for the final time.

Today we have a special treat for you. Photographs taken by the very talented Helen Drewett. Helen cannot imagine life without the Queen, and feels her grief is akin to when she lost her own mother. She has supported the Royal family for decades and these photos will show how up close and personal she became. They’ve never been seen before so are of great significance at a time when we will no longer have photo opportunities with Queen Elizabeth.

It is time to say farewell and thank you and I hope you all join us in taking a little time to reflect on what an incredible woman Queen Elizabeth was. Thank you, your highness.

Queen Elizabeth looking sad