“The Queen wish to see Neil for a chat this afternoon, however provided that he has time.”
That was the message conveyed from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to Canongate Kirk workplace throughout Royal Week 2021.
And sure, clearly, I did have time, and now discover myself cherishing the reminiscence of that chat greater than ever.
The mild method during which the royal summons was issued – “however provided that he has time” – was moderately typical of the genuinely unassuming angle that was for some an sudden hallmark of The Queen’s character.
“You’d higher reply that,” Her Majesty as soon as famously instructed a flustered girl in a line-up whose cell phone had began to ring at simply the mistaken second.
“It is perhaps somebody necessary.”
And my private favorite got here when The Queen as soon as referred to anyone (was it Roy Jenkins?) as “far too grand for the likes of me!”
I can not assist pondering there was one thing moderately Scottish about Her Majesty’s capability to not take herself too critically – whilst she faultlessly fulfilled probably the most critical of roles – that may be traced not simply to her Scottish ancestry however to the various comfortable occasions she spent in Scotland all through the course of her very lengthy life and reign.
It will probably safely be stated that she had time for Scotland and its folks, and relished the informal chats simply as a lot because the extra formal encounters. And Scotland had time for her, thanks not least to that lightly self-deprecating method that struck such a chord on this specific nook of Her Majesty’s Kingdom.
As now with the remainder of the UK and Commonwealth we mourn her passing, and provides thanks for her distinctive lifetime of responsibility and devotion, allow us to give thanks too for these qualities and traits that The Queen shared with us and which stood her in such good stead for therefore lengthy.
Rev Neil Gardner is minister at Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh, the kirk of Holyroodhouse, and Edinburgh Fort.