RSCDS Chairman pays respects to HM The Queen
September 22, 2022
Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Her Majesty the Queen at St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
As a Society all members were saddened to learn of the death of our RSCDS Patron, Her Majesty the Queen. As the tributes poured in from around the world the initial focus was, appropriately, on Scotland. Her Majesty had passed away in Balmoral Castle, her beloved home in Aberdeenshire, a place where she could relax with her family on her estate amongst the mountains.
As her coffin journeyed through the countryside on its way to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh it passed not far from the late Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother’s childhood home, Glamis Castle, in Angus, reminding us all of her Scottish roots.
A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Her Majesty the Queen was held in St Giles’ Cathedral on Monday 12th September 2022, to which I was proud to be personally invited to represent RSCDS.
The service was very moving and intimate. For those of us attending it felt like being at a family funeral. The grief of the King and his family was palpable as they followed the coffin up the aisle, with its wreath of flowers from the Balmoral estate. The atmosphere was sombre yet uplifting. The Lessons and music from the choir echoed around the ancient cathedral, as did the singing of the Old Hundredth Psalm, and Psalm 23, to the tune Crimond. It was truly a privilege to be present, and to pay my personal respects in front of the coffin as I left the cathedral.
The State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The invitation to attend the State Funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday 19th September 2022 arrived on the day of the service in Edinburgh. As RSCDS Chairman I was honoured, and humbled to be invited alongside foreign Royalty, Commonwealth representatives, and Heads of State.
Inevitably security was tight, but the two hours watching as the Abbey filled with around 2,000 guests, was very slick and timed perfectly to the minute. Seated in the Nave I could glimpse the arrival of the Royal family. We then heard the sound of the distant pipe band approaching, getting louder by the minute. The music suddenly stopped outside the West Door of the Abbey and almost immediately the coffin appeared, topped by a beautiful wreath of flowers from the gardens at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Highgrove, the King’s home in western England.
The service was memorable with magnificent music from the choir, the boy sopranos, and the congregation singing the hymns. The Archbishop’s words felt very appropriate and the final consecration, 2 minute silence, National Anthem and solo piper’s lament fading away, were very emotional. The King and Queen Consort’s intense grief was visible to all as they left the Abbey to travel to Windsor Castle to lay Her Majesty to rest alongside her late husband.
It is very hard for me to express how honoured and privileged I felt to be present, representing all RSCDS members, at such a historical moment for our much-loved monarch. Her life of service was acknowledged worldwide and having her as our Patron, for 75 years since she was Princess Elizabeth, made me very proud.