From school children to pensioners, from office workers to carers; citizens from every generation, background and walk of life have been impacted by the loss of the Queen. For so many she is the only monarch we have known.
We have lost a Queen who dutifully served our country through every high and low we have faced. From war to the pandemic, her late Majesty has remained the constant.
Over the past 70 years she provided quiet, but steadfast leadership and showing that whatever we face, our great country can come together.
I had the real privilege to meet the Queen, the first time as Deputy Chief Whip, for the ‘wand swapping’ - the exchange of the wands of office between the outgoing and incoming deputy.
It was also in my role as Deputy Chief Whip I had the honour of joining the State Opening of Parliament procession, getting to sit in one of the carriages from the Palace to Parliament. Never in my life did I ever expect to do that and it is something I will never forget. Even though it was a rather damp day, still the streets were packed with onlookers wanting to see the Queen.
She was loved and admired the length and breadth of our country, including here in Cannock Chase. That love and admiration stretched across the world, as I saw on overseas visits. I got to visit many places where the Queen was head of state. I can attest that she was held with the upmost respect across these nations and overseas territories. Even in the nations that are not part of the family of nations united by the Crown, the Queen was still a household name, known by billions of people across the globe.
Those of us who chose to go into public life do so because we want to make our great country better for those we serve. In Her late Majesty, we could not have had a better example to follow. Her unparalleled record of public service stands as an inspiration. We have been lucky to have her wise counsel and calm leadership over the past 70 years.
I know that we all send His Majesty The King and all of the Royal Family our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time.
As we all mourn the loss of Queen Elizabeth II we know that His Majesty The King had an excellent mentor and that he will continue her great legacy.
God save the King.