Despite it not being entirely unexpected, the death of Her Majesty the Queen still came as a shock.

The Queen was Head of State for longer than most of us have been alive and few recall a time without her at the helm.

It is therefore wholly understandable that her death last week saw an outpouring of grief and mourning both at home and abroad.

The Queen was a constant in all our lives. For more than 70 years she faithfully served Scotland, the UK and the Commonwealth.

It’s a testament to her profound sense of duty and service that she kept working right until the end, appointing the new Prime Minister just two days before her death.

During Queen Elizabeth’s reign, Britain had 15 Prime Ministers, Scotland five First Ministers and the US 13 Presidents, while the world has changed beyond recognition.

From the end of the British Empire to the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, Man’s first steps on the moon, the dawn of the internet and the smart phone era, The Queen remained resolute in her service to the people of these islands and the Commonwealth.

Of course, The Queen was not only monarch, she was also a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

The Royal Family will feel her personal loss keenly.

The Queen had a deep connection with Scotland. Balmoral was her favourite palace, bound by ties of ancestry, affection and duty.

She was descended from Mary Queen of Scots whose son James VI of Scotland also became James I of England in the 1603 Union of the Crowns.

It is believed that a third of the UK population had some direct or indirect contact with The Queen at official functions or at one of the thousands of public engagements and visits she undertook.

This was a monarch who was visible like none before her.

For many of us, an abiding memory of The Queen will have been inviting her into our homes on Christmas Day in what became as familiar a tradition as turkey and stuffing, as TVs the length and breadth of the country tuned in for her annual broadcast.

The Queen lived a life of service, quiet dignity and dedication and was held in very high regard by so very many across Scotland, UK and the wider world.

In the aftermath of this sad news, we can reflect and remember her devotion to duty and how Her Majesty was such a constant and mainstay in an ever-changing world.

She was a monarch who reigned with integrity.

Even following the death of her beloved husband of 73 years Prince Philip The Queen’s fortitude and deep sense of public duty did not falter.

The coming days will see much ceremony and many changes as The Queen is laid to rest and King Charles III steps into his new role.

hroughout it all, my deepest condolences go out to those who loved and will miss her.

The Queen will be remembered with deep affection.