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The Queen's funeral: We remember when Her Majesty came to Bedford

The Queen’s funeral: We remember when Her Majesty came to Bedford

I was chief reporter at Bedford Herald in 1996 (swallowed up by the Times & Citizen years later) and our newsroom found out the Queen was due to visit the town.

It’s a task not many reporters relish, I confess, as there’s a lot of waiting around but the decision was made I would be the one dispatched.

I mean, come on, who better than a confirmed republican to cover the event so as not to get swept away in a wave of sycophancy – but my goodness, what a spectacle it was.

HM The Queen

Crowds & crowds & yes more crowds packed the town to see this icon. To see their Queen resplendent in head-to-toe purple/blue.

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Queen Elizabeth: Bedford Hospital remembers “strong connection” with Her Majesty

I kept it professional, asking members of our proud town what she had just said to them as I followed our monarch through the streets.

But my lasting memory – which I will always hold dear – is when the Queen and I took a break from all the chaos and hard work just outside the former town hall.

We locked eyes … then, we took a well-earned deep breath together … before continuing on with our respective jobs.

It was quite the moment and on reflection hard to sum up how I feel, especially now.

Yes, it was a brief moment but a powerful one.

She has been a constant in my life. She’s been a constant in all our lives.

Her service, her sense of duty, her commitment, her discreet appeal – even her ‘never complain, never explain’ mantra – I regret to say we won’t see the likes of her again.

Even if you are not a royalist, her death must surely resonate. Far too many of us have of course been called to a hospital bedside to be with a loved one in their final hours.

Silly me, I thought she’d live forever. What a life. What a legacy.

Farewell, ma’am. Rest easy.

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