A column by Swindon Borough Council Deputy Leader Gary Sumner.
The death of our Monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, was a moment many of us hoped would never come because she was such a constant in our lives for so long. Her 70-year reign was quite incredible.
To witness the nation’s outpouring of grief and admiration over the last few days has been truly humbling and, as I write, preparations are underway for Her Majesty’s State Funeral before she is finally laid to rest.
Seeing the crowds gathering in Edinburgh and in London has reminded me of the last time I saw Her Majesty.
It was with my family on 3 June 2012 as we watched the Diamond Jubilee procession on the Thames.
London was packed for the celebrations and our children were waving their flags at the Royal Barge as The Queen passed by.
It has been fascinating to watch and listen to all the many personal stories and memories from people right across the country and beyond.
To think that Her Majesty carried on her duties for another 10 years is difficult to comprehend and we are unlikely to see such unstinting service and dedication from our Monarch in our lifetimes.
Swindon sends its thoughts and prayers to her family and stands ready to serve the new King.
Although it is with great sorrow we mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, we now have to look forward to the reign of our new Sovereign.
I was privileged to be able to attend the local Proclamation ceremony at the Civic Offices with the Mayor of Swindon, Councillor Abdul Amin, and Vice Lord-lieutenant of Wiltshire, William Wyldbore- Smith, as we formally announced the beginning of the new King’s reign.
To be part of such a unique tradition was a proud moment and the singing of the national anthem to honour the King Charles III and the ‘Three cheers for the King’ that followed was an uplifting snapshot of the future within what has been a sorrowful time for our country.
I would like to thank Swindon Brass and The Royal Wessex Yeomanry for their support on an historic day for Swindon.
I must also thank everyone who took the time to write heartfelt messages in the many books of condolences that were placed in locations across the borough.
As I write, these will be collected after Her Majesty’s funeral and archived for future generations as a record of this important part of our history.
Each individual tribute and memory paints a picture of an amazing person we were lucky to call our Queen.
May she rest in peace.