Unlike those in the media and the establishment, or in businesses and organisations, I hadn't planned for these days.

I hadn't drafted words of tribute, gratitude or loss because, though it was both inevitable and imminent, I hadn't anticipated the time would come. 

As our lives have become increasingly more uncertain, fragile and unsettled, the constant, calm and dignified presence of the Queen has become more and more vital and valued.

If wisdom, integrity and reliability have seemed to be lacking in our leaders today, she stood both as a reminder of higher standards in the past, and better times in the future. 

Alhough we no longer have her faithful, unifying, steadying presence, perhaps we can hold on to some of the messages she shared over her 70 year reign:

"It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is much more difficult."  Christmas speech, 1957

"When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future." Christmas speech, 2008

"It's worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change." Christmas speech, 2019

"For Christians, as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation and prayer help us to renew ourselves in God’s love, as we strive daily to become better people." Christmas speech, 2013

"Our modern world places such heavy demands on our time and attention that the need to remember our responsibilities to others is greater than ever." Christmas speech, 2002

"Grief is the price we pay for love." A message of condolence to New York in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, 2001

There are no book recommendations today. It didn't feel appropriate. And I'll share a report of the Booker Book Group discussion next week. But the title we're reading together this month seems strangely fitting - 'Cecily' imagines royal events centuries past.

Thank you for reading.