Sturgeon praises Queen’s ‘dedication’ and ‘devotion’ following death at Balmoral

Scottish First Minister Nicola Surgeon paid tribute to the Queen (Jane Barlow/PA)
Scottish First Minister Nicola Surgeon paid tribute to the Queen (Jane Barlow/PA)

Nicola Sturgeon has praised the Queen’s “dedication” and “devotion” after she died at Balmoral, in the Scottish Highlands.

The death of the 96-year-old monarch was announced on Thursday evening, with the Scottish First Minister sending her condolences to the royal family.

Ms Sturgeon told how the Queen had given “decades of her life in service” and had “died today here in Scotland as our longest-serving monarch”.

After her death was announced, flags at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh were lowered to half mast, along with those at the Scottish Parliament and at Scottish Government buildings.

Ms Sturgeon sent her condolences to Charles, who is now King, and to the rest of the royal family.

“Millions around the world will share their grief but only they will feel the loss of a mother and grandmother,” she said.

Ms Sturgeon continued: “The Queen was unflinching in her dedication to duty, unwavering in her commitment to public service and unmatched in her devotion to the people of this country and the wider Commonwealth.

“We are all saddened by today’s news and will come together in the days ahead to mourn.

“But it is right and proper that we celebrate the unparalleled contribution she made in her 70 years as Sovereign.

“The Queen came to the throne following the Second World War, reigned through decades of social change and lived to be the monarch who opened our Scottish Parliament in the age of devolution.”

She added: “Scotland was special to her and she was special to Scotland. Throughout her life, she had a particular fondness for Aberdeenshire and her home there at Balmoral, where she spent her final days.”

Business at the Scottish Parliament has now been suspended, on what Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone said was a “day of great sadness for the whole country and a time of deeply personal grief for the royal family”.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack meanwhile said the Queen’s reign had been “defined by hard work and dedicated public service, earning her the respect and devotion of her citizens the length and breadth of the UK, and throughout the Commonwealth”.

He added: “Her Majesty had a genuine love of Scotland, and a very special relationship with us Scots. Her Majesty was held dear by people in Scotland, and she will be very much missed.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross described the Queen as “a national treasure” whose “dedication and commitment” to the country was “unmatched”.

Mr Ross said: “For 70 years, the Queen led the country through good times and bad, an unwavering presence of strength in each and every national moment of adversity.

“There was nobody else like Her Majesty. This loss will be felt dearly across Scotland, the United Kingdom and around the world. Everyone will remember Her Majesty as a warm, loving and caring mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and monarch.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “This is a sad day for the whole country, but especially for the royal family who have lost a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother.

“The entire nation joins them in mourning the death of Her Majesty, the Queen.”

Paying tribute to her long reign, Mr Sarwar said: “From the Blitz to the pandemic, she brought our nation together at times of crisis – providing hope and light in our darkest moments.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater said: “All of us have shared in the pain of losing a loved one in our lives, and at this difficult time for so many, we offer our condolences following the Queen’s passing.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said the Queen “represented perhaps the greatest life of public service in the history of our country”.

He stated: “For seven decades she has been our country’s most recognisable ambassador. Whether it be her wartime service, her patronage of more than 600 charities or her Covid-19 broadcast to the nation, she has been a beacon for so many people. The Queen was loved and touched lives the world over.”

The Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, paid tribute to the “faith, service and dedication of Her Majesty the Queen”, saying this had been “the hallmark of her long reign”.

He added: “She has been the steady constant in the life of our nation for over seven decades and most of us will have grown up knowing only her as our monarch.”

He continued: “Tireless in her duty, the Queen has demonstrated a life of selfless dedication.

“Her love for her family was mirrored in her love for our nation and the wider Commonwealth.”

With people all across this nation and Commonwealth, most of whom have never known life without the Queen, we share an uncommon yet communal sense of loss

Reverend Kenneth MacKenzie, of Crathie Kirk

Meanwhile, the Reverend Kenneth MacKenzie, of Crathie Kirk – the church the royals attend while at Balmoral, said locals in the area had learned of her death with “great sadness”.

The minister of the parish of Braemar and Crathie and domestic chaplain to the Queen, said she had had a long life “shaped by faith, infused with grace, and characterised by selfless service”.

He added: “With people all across this nation and Commonwealth, most of whom have never known life without the Queen, we share an uncommon yet communal sense of loss.

“More specifically perhaps, we who live in this beautiful part of God’s creation – a place and a community beloved by the late Queen – have been granted a degree of insight into just how deeply her death will affect each and every member of her family and household.”