A service held to remember the “long and happy reign” of Elizabeth II was told simply that the Queen has “gone home”.
The Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, spoke about her “extraordinary life” at a service attended by the King and other members of the royal family.
Rev Greenshields told the congregation that over those days “tributes to her Majesty have poured in” but it was now “beginning to sink in that she is gone from us – ‘gone home’ to express her own words”.
He said the service was taking place to “express our thanks to God, for her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s extraordinary life”.
The Rev Greenshields added: “We are united in sorrow at the death of our Monarch, but we are also so aware that His Majesty King Charles and all his family are not just grieving the loss of their Queen, but their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.”
Most of us cannot recall a time when she was not our monarch
Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields
He told the packed congregation how the Queen “began her reign, like King Solomon by asking for wisdom, something she demonstrated in large measure”.
He also highlighted her “duty, honour, commitment and faith”, saying that “these are the words we reach for today in describing the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth”.
The minister continued: “Most of us cannot recall a time when she was not our monarch.
“Committed to the role she assumed in 1952 upon the death of her beloved father, she has been a constant in our lives for 70 years.
“Determined to see her work as a form of service to others, she maintained that steady course until the end of her life.
“People who were in her company always felt that they were being listened to carefully and attentively, and with compassion.
“She possessed a sharp, intelligent mind, with amazing recall, a kindly heart and a gentle sense of humour. She understood the breadth of world affairs and also cared about what happened to all her people.
“Though sometimes buffeted by events around her, she continued resolutely and cheerfully to fulfil her responsibilities.
“Today we give thanks not only for the length of her reign but for the qualities she displayed so steadfastly.”
He continued: “Here in Scotland we acknowledge with gratitude her deep links with our land and its people. Her love of the Balmoral estate is well known and being there latterly brought her great comfort.
“There she was valued as a neighbour and friend, she drew strength and refreshment during summer months there.”
He recalled that the Queen had been “active in the life of civic Scotland” and had presided over ceremonial events in both Holyrood Palace, and in “this church in which we are gathered”.
Rev Greenshields also spoke of the Queen’s “deep and lasting” links with the Church in Scotland.
He said: “She was the supreme governor of the Church of England, she worshipped in the Church of Scotland when north of the border, at Canongate Kirk and especially at Crathie Kirk during the summer months where she took her pew each Sunday morning, prevented latterly only by infirmity.
“She perceived little difficulty in belonging to two churches and appreciating the strengths of each.”
He continued: “For 70 years, she reigned as our Queen. She has been present amongst us as a follower of Christ and a member of his church. For that and much else we thank God.
“Today we mourn her passing. But we also celebrate the long and happy reign that has sadly ended.
“We pray God’s blessing upon King Charles, who will surely draw strength from his mother’s example and the many affectionate tributes of these days, and from our assurance to him as a church of our steadfast prayers at all times and of our unstinting support to him as was offered to his mother, the Queen.”