A week ago today we received the deeply sad news that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had died at Balmoral Castle. Our late queen sat on the throne longer than any other British Monarch, and throughout her life she dedicated herself entirely to the people of the United Kingdom and the wider Commonwealth.
Since her passing there has been an outpouring of love and support for her late Majesty, our new King Charles III, and the entire Royal Family. I had the honour of speaking in Parliament on behalf of all my constituents to pay my respects and to say thank you.
In my speech, I spoke about some of the Queen’s visits to Chichester, including in 2017 when I had the honour of meeting Her Majesty. Throughout the week my colleagues have also been sharing their own interactions with our late Queen, and most of us who have had the privilege all say the same. She had a quick wit, a generous smile, and used both to make you feel at ease. Even from my relatively short time with The Queen, she displayed all that and more and our meeting is a memory I will treasure forever.
Locally there are different ways to mourn and remember Her Majesty. Chichester Cathedral is acting as the focal point in the city. There is a book of condolence available to sign, as well as a space outside the cathedral for people to lay flowers. On the weekend there will be special evensong services to pay tribute to the life of The Queen. There will be similar services across the parishes.
On Sunday at 8 pm there will be a national moment of reflection, where people will hold a minute’s silence, ahead of the funeral taking place on Monday, which has been declared a bank holiday to allow the nation to grieve.
This has been a hugely challenging week for our nation and the entire Commonwealth. I feel deeply sad and extremely grateful to our Late Queen. May she rest in peace and God Save The King.