This week, as The National Anthem played and Huw Edwards announced the unthinkable news in my living room, I surprised myself as big, fat tears rolled down my cheeks. I know that collective grief brings up grief in our own lives but 7 decades as Queen is pretty huge. What a WOMAN!
I had the pleasure of meeting The Queen at Buckingham Palace once.
If I'd been in any doubt as to the honour of that meeting, it soon became apparent as I tried on dresses in a Los Angeles changing cubicle near our US home, 15 years ago.
"Is it for anything special" the attendant asked, casually.
"Well, actually I'm going to Buckingham Palace to meet The Queen"
SILENCE. Then, VERY loudly...
"LADIES - come out of your changing rooms! THIS lady is meeting the QUEEN OF ENGERLAAAND" as about 20 women eagerly appeared to see what I'd be wearing, buzzing with excitement!
And yes - this was a BIG DEAL.
Being inside The Palace was amazing! We felt like naughty children who weren't meant to be there at all. As Matt Baker and I waited for her Majesty to come into the room the whole "To curtsey or not to curtsey / how do you curtsey" chat was doing the rounds.
It was all way more informal than I'd ever imagined it would be.
What do I do?
What do I say?
What's the protocol?
And then - she was there! Right in front of us!
And yes - I curtseyed!
In a Palace!
To MY QUEEN!
I knew it was probably the ONLY time I'd ever get to curtsey in my life,
All I remember was being blown away by her incredible skin, the grace with which she had time and chats with everyone and the fact that she carried a handbag in her OWN house.
But of course, NOW we all know why.
The Marmalade Sandwich!
And for the rest of us?
The passing of such a constant in our lives is seismic and grief always brings up past grief in your life. Whatever you're feeling right now? FEEL it. There's no right or wrong way to feel.
We've had so much by way of storms to weather these past few years and a new PM and Monarch in the same week is a LOT. So be kind to you.
And RIP Your Majesty. What an incredible life well lived.
What an example to all of us.
"Thank you Ma'am - for EVERYTHING."