I think I speak for all of us when I say how very sad I feel after the death of Her Majesty the Queen.
Queen Elizabeth II was more than just our Sovereign. She was more than just our Head of State, more than just a figurehead. To borrow a phrase directly from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth was quite simply, our 'strength and stay'.
Our Queen provided us with stability through many turbulent times, remaining, as she always did, calm and unruffled, fulfilling her many public duties without fail. She was reliable and she was uncomplaining. She accepted the role into which she was thrust by fate, and did her job to the very best of her ability.
The one thing I find particularly touching is that she continued working right up to the end, providing both the outgoing Prime Minister and the incoming Prime Minister with a similarly warm and traditional reception at Balmoral.
Her death contains added significance as it acts as a partial severance with the past. Her Majesty was part of a great generation of Britons who had lived through World War II and whose very essence was filled with duty, courage, country and service. She came from a time when patriotism and national pride were inextricably linked to the United Kingdom's very survival, as her father the King, led his country in a fight against Nazi fascism.
We shall not look upon her like again.
Queen, wife, daughter, mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother; Her Majesty was perhaps the very epitome of 'girl power', quietly and effectively combining tradition and innovation to shape the monarchy to enable it to evolve with the changing times.
She pledged to serve us for her entire life, be it long or short, and that is what she did.
Thank you, Your Majesty for your life of service, and God Save the King.
Chair, Sevenoaks Conservative Association