Profound condolences to the King and the Royal Family

Dear Friends

The news was not a surprise, but it was a shock.  I remember hearing, when in primary school, from a weeping teacher of the death of King George VI, and feeling, like my classmates, both awed and uncertain.  Many years later, I understand the feeling.

Age modified her agenda but in no way was it abandoned, as this week’s ceremony at Balmoral showed.  She has displayed wit, discretion, and wise insights to her ministers over the years. She had two days ago appointed her fifteenth Prime Minister; her first was Churchill.  Her ministers have consistently said that they valued the chance of a frank private conversation which will never be leaked.  The monarch’s importance lies, not only in her own limited constitutional power, but also in what she takes away from her Ministers.  It was she and not they who embodied personally that which citizens honour and for which armed forces serve.   Political figures may aspire to appear patriotic, but they are not the monarch.

During the seventy years she met a majority of world leaders and visited over a hundred countries.  The celebrations of the Platinum Jubilee in embassies around the world offered a chance for friends from every country to celebrate cheerfully an unimaginable anniversary.  I had the privilege of meeting the Queen,  and each occasion vividly confirmed that combination of duty, competence, charm, and perceptiveness which rendered her literally extraordinary.  Her questions were anything but bland, conveying a sharp interest in European affairs.   I was proud to hold her Commission as one of Her Majesty’s Counsel.

I am sure that all our members would wish to express profound condolences to the King and the Royal Family at this moment of true  pride about a past, and deep sadness about a loss .

Ian Forrester KC

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