Like many others, I was saddened to hear that Queen Elizabeth II had passed away.

When the Queen’s much loved father, King George VI passed away in 1952, his body was carried through the streets of Windsor for the funeral service in St George’s Chapel.

Local people started assembling in front of the Guildhall in Salisbury to observe the two minutes silence. The sun shone brightly from an almost cloudless sky although a sharp wind forced the patiently waiting sombrely dressed crowd of 1,500 people to pull their coats tightly round them.

Brilliant sunshine came again when the King’s elder daughter, the Princess Elizabeth, was proclaimed Queen in February 1952.

The Salisbury Journal reported:

Surely no Princess could have been more popular than our new Queen has been and is. With her royal parents’ fine example of character and service before her throughout her life, she has shown that she has benefited from it and means to follow them in the great regal position for which she has been trained.

Fifty-one years have passed since we last had a Queen as our Sovereign in this country, Queen Victoria, and 349 years since we had a Queen Elizabeth. Each of those Queens had a long and brilliant reign during which the country made progress in many directions, and a new era of prosperity dawned.

There are hopeful signs for us all that under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II this country will go forward, contributing much to the happiness of British people at home and abroad, and to that of the peoples of the world at large. Her Majesty is assured of the loyalty, sympathy and prayers of her people.

Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-serving monarch in British history drawing to a close the country’s second Elizabethan era and heralding the reign of her son, King Charles III.