Star comment: A moment to fall silent again and give out thanks

Many will leave their homes and stand with neighbours.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II

Covid taught us the power of a collective moment of reflection. Thursday night celebrations of the NHS and key workers was an emotional exercise that helped us connect with others at a difficult time. It also enabled us to show our appreciation for those who’d made considerable sacrifices for the greater good.

We, the general public, were the beneficiaries of the kindness others had shown. From our doorsteps, we were able to offer thanks.

Now, at 8pm on Sunday, we are invited take part in a minute’s silence for the Queen. Again, many will leave their homes and stand with neighbours. They will find comfort in the closeness of others and feel warmth that people in their communities feel the same way. They will be grateful for the opportunity to express thanks and enjoy the chance to reflect on the remarkable life of a lady who led our nation through the decades.

Others will simply sit at home and take a moment to contemplate the importance of the Queen both to the nation and to our own lives. She has been a source of continuity and certainty in a very uncertain world.

Hundreds of thousands will head to London for the funeral on Monday for a very public display of emotion. But Sunday night will offer the chance for the whole nation to remember as one.

We have lost a great figurehead who has brought us together time and again and who has so often reflected the national mood. Through good times and bad, through times of togetherness and times of strife, she has been constant. We will all miss her.

The Dean of Westminster has the unenviable job of officiating the Queen’s funeral. While the world’s eyes will be on him, he is also very conscious that this is also a very personal moment for the Royal Family. And he says he is very aware that the funeral service will bring to the fore all kinds of emotions in us all, saying: “This is an opportunity for us to mourn because we’ve lost someone we held dear and respected”.

Like many funerals we have been to for loved ones, ​especially for those who have had a long and fulsome life, we are likely to feel a mixture of emotions. Monday will be a day to mourn, but it will also be a time to celebrate the Queen and raise a smile as we remember her as a remarkable person.

She lived well and lived long, bringing great joy to people around the world and providing stability for the people she led. We can be thankful for her.

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