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Paying Respects to 'The Queen of Scots'

Paying Respects to 'The Queen of Scots'

Thursday September 15

 

OVER 33,000 people queued to pay their respects to the Queen as she lay at rest  in St Giles’ Cathedral, the historic High Kirk of Edinburgh.

Among them was Dianne Sanderson, Life and Work’s Business Manager.

Dianne, who lives in Edinburgh, explained why she was drawn to queue for hours to say farewell to the late monarch.

“I wasn’t drawn to witness the cortege,” she says, “but the more I watched the coverage, the more I knew I wanted to pay my respects. Thankfully I found out, through talking with my family, that my husband and one of my children wanted to go too.

“My daughter said she felt she needed to go because the Queen was like ‘everybody’s gran’ and I knew what she meant.

“We live in Edinburgh so it was a matter of deciding just when we wanted to join the queue to see her lying at Rest, as reports were already coming in about queues over a mile long.

“We calculated that maybe joining the queue overnight would give us the best (least amount) of time to wait, so at 11.30pm, we dutifully joined the back of the queue and took our places.

“We were told it would likely be about an eight hour wait. We didn’t mind.

“There was an air of quietness, a stillness around us. It felt very respectful.

“There were all kinds of people waiting around us, from way ahead to behind us as the queue kept forming. All life was there. Young people; couples; retired couples, and many single people, just standing on their own, ready to pay respect to their Queen.

“Two people mentioned they’d come from Loch Lomond; another young couple had come from Newcastle. Many had brought flowers.

“One elderly man stood alone, dressed in a black suit and black tie, silent, not interacting, just lost in his own thoughts.

“An army of volunteers looked after us as we snaked round what seemed like every path in the vast stretch of grass known as The Meadows.

“Half way along, a piper played for the queue. He was standing on a bench lit only by a street lamp, playing for us all.

“By the time we reached George Square, maybe just a quarter of a mile from St Giles’, we were given wrist bands and with one last bottleneck at the security check, we were finally nearly there. One policewoman wished us ‘Good morning’ as we passed. We didn’t realise it was morning – 3.25am to be precise – we were on our way towards St Giles’.

“It was utterly peaceful.  There was an atmosphere of absolute serenity and peace and of being in the right place. The lighting was subdued but perfect; the Royal Company of Archers who guarded the flag draped coffin looked dutifully steady; everything was just right. It was an occasion, a night, none of us will ever forget, and will always be glad we went to.

“I bowed my head, reflected on a life of service well-lived and slowly left. I admit I shed a tear – not because the loss was personal, but because of the loss of a dutiful woman who steadfastly did her duty through everything life threw at her; for a mother who did not have her worries to seek; for ‘everybody’s gran’.

“Members of my family have served in the Forces; some would have been there but are no longer with us, and in some ways, I did it for them too.

“In the end, I needed to pay my respects to a truly remarkable woman who, regardless of privilege, performed a role that few of us would choose, and she did it right to the end.”

“If anyone epitomised ‘Life and Work’ in the modern age, the Queen did.”

 

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