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REACTION: North-east and Highland leaders share grief over loss of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth died peacefully at Balmoral.
Queen Elizabeth died peacefully at Balmoral.

There has been an outpouring of grief across the Aberdeenshire, Moray and the Highlands as the news of Queen Elizabeth’s death at the age of 96.

Having reigned for over 70 years she was the longest serving British monarch in history and will be remembered for her sense of duty and commitment to the United Kingdom.

She died peacefully at her Aberdeenshire home, Balmoral Castle where crowds were silent when the news broke of the Queen’s passing.

Leaders from across Scotland have been sharing their grief and thoughts over the death of the Queen.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon released in statement following the news.

She said: “Her Majesty The Queen gave decades of her life in service and has died today here in Scotland as our longest-serving monarch.

“Our condolences are with The King, The Queen Consort and the wider Royal Family. Millions around the world will share their grief but only they will feel the loss of a mother and grandmother.

“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.

‘Scotland was special to her and she was special to Scotland.’

“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.

“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.

“But her contribution to Scottish public life extended throughout our country and abroad and was deeply felt by thousands.

“Today is a day for reflection and remembrance. It is also a day for giving thanks to The Queen for her devotion to duty and the decades of public service she gave to the people of Scotland.”

Tributes from Aberdeenshire, Moray and Highlands

Moray Council’s civic leader, John Cowe, said: “It is with great sadness that Moray Council learnt of the death Her Majesty The Queen.

“With her husband, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Her Majesty was a regular visitor to Moray, and many residents hold fond and lifelong memories of these Royal visits to the region.

“As a mark of respect, flags will be flown at half-mast at key buildings across Moray, and books of condolence will open from 9am on Friday, September 9.”

Angela Scott, chief executive, Aberdeen City Council said: “On behalf of Aberdeen City Council, I would like to express my deepest sympathy on hearing of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

“The Queen dedicated her life to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth throughout her reign and during that time visited Aberdeen on many occasions.

“I am sure many families in Aberdeen will be reminiscing over the coming weeks about events such as Her Majesty’s Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees, or recalling seeing The Queen when she was in our city.

“The Queen had a close and warm association with the north-east of Scotland, and its people with her.”

Provost of Aberdeenshire, Judy Whyte, said: “It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Her Majesty The Queen.

“The nation has lost its greatest ambassador, and throughout her reign she was an impeccable servant to the United Kingdom and the wider Commonwealth.

“She held Aberdeenshire very dear to her heart, and it is that relationship which will be remembered most fondly. It is fitting that she spent her final days on the Balmoral Estate, somewhere which was so special to her.”

Sandy Manson, Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, said: “We are so saddened by the news from Buckingham Palace and we all mourn the passing of Her Majesty The Queen.

“The Queen was a constant support and inspiration in all our lives. In Aberdeenshire, we had a particularly close and enduring connection with the Queen and Balmoral was a treasured place for Her Majesty.

“The Queen was loved and admired throughout Aberdeenshire and none more so than by the communities of Deeside where she was their neighbour.

We are glad that this was a place that she could come and relax with her family and friends and the people of Aberdeenshire.”

Crowds gathered outside Balmoral Estate following the announcement of the Queen’s death. Picture by Wullie Marr.

Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeen David Cameron said:  “Her Majesty’s reign was a source of constant stability in a world of rapid change and the impact of her passing will be deeply felt across our city.

“Aberdeen has been very fortunate to have had such a close bond with The Queen and we fondly remember Her Majesty’s many visits to the city and the warm, generous spirit which was always so forthcoming to those lucky enough to meet her.

“Whilst this is a time of great public sorrow, it is also a time of immense personal grief for The Queen’s family who have lost a beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

“My thoughts are with all members of the Royal Family at this very sad time, and I have written to His Majesty The King expressing the deepest sympathies of the whole city.”

Lord Lieutenant of Moray Major General Seymour Monro said: “Queen Elizabeth II was a truly wonderful monarch for the United Kingdom for 70 years.

“There were many challenging times during her reign, but the Queen always gave her people and her country superb leadership as our sovereign. She was an inspirational, steadying and wise influence over the country’s affairs.

The Queen
Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, September 8.

Lord-Lieutenant of Banffshire Andrew Simpson released a statement saying: “The news of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen brings great sadness to many in this country and across the globe. In 1953 she spoke of dedicating her life to serving others.

“This she has done with a sense of duty and diligence that has been an example to us all. Throughout her long reign, Her Majesty has been a symbol of stability through a time of much change.

“As the country mourns the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, we remember also her family and extend sincere condolences to them at this time of loss.

“As well as looking back, we also look forward and offer support and loyalty to the new King.”

‘Heartfelt sympathies to all members of The Royal Family.’

Sandra Macdonald, Labour leader on Aberdeen City Council said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the King and the Royal Family.

“Millions of people all over the world will mourn our Queen’s passing, not least those of us here in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire whose lives she has touched in so many ways over so many years.”

Inverness MP Drew Hendry said: “I’m deeply saddened to hear of Her Majesty the Queen’s passing.

“No one can question her unwavering dedication to public service throughout her life. My condolences to her family and to the many others who will share in their grief.”

Convener of The Highland Council, Bill Lobban expressed his deepest sympathies to The Royal Family, he said: “On behalf of The Highland Council and communities of the Highlands, we join the nation in mourning for Her Majesty The Queen.

“We extend our heartfelt sympathies to all members of The Royal Family and Household and honour Her Majesty The Queen’s long service and duty to the country.”

Bobby Hunter, Lord Lieutenant for Shetland: “Her Majesty’s passing is a time of great sorrow for us all.

“The Queen has been a figurehead for our nation and an unwavering constant in our lives since taking the throne in 1952.

“There will be many who have fond memories of The Queen’s three visits to Shetland, including Royal walkabouts in Lerwick and the sight of the Royal Yacht Britannia by our shores.

“During the period of mourning, we shall reflect on her incomparable role and duties over so many years, and then look forward to supporting her successor, King Charles III.  I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family at this sad time.”

President of Braemar Royal Highland Society Peter Fraser said: “It is with great sadness that members of the Braemar Royal Highland Society learned of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen patron of the Society for more than seven decades.

“With the Royal family’s summer retreat at Balmoral Castle a close neighbour to Braemar, Her Majesty was associated with the gathering from her first visit with parents and grand parents in 1933.

“Over the past seventy years she missed the event on only four occasions and made it very much a family day out with her children and grand children joining her in the Patrons’ Pavilion at various stages of their own lives.

“She also offered considerable support to both the Society and those who competed at the gatherings, including her own Balmoral tug-o-war team.

“At this sad time I would like to pass on the sincere condolences of Society members and officials to Her Majesty’s close and extended family.”

Skye councillor John Finlayson said: “I like so many was both saddened and shocked to hear of the Queen’s passing.

“I am sure her passing will be mourned by communities right across the UK, including the Highlands, and no one can ever question the commitment and dignity she showed through her long reign as Monarch.”

The flag flying at half mast at Buckingham Palace following the Queen’s death. Picture by Victoria Jones/PA Wire.

Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said: “The Queen served our country with unparalleled distinction over seventy years. Her loss will be felt by people around the world.

“Her Majesty witnessed huge changes during her long reign, yet remained a constant symbol of duty, even into her later years. From a young woman coming to the throne in 1952 to today, she has shown incredible devotion to her role and her people.”

Shona Morrison, president of Cosla, who is also a Moray councillor, said: “Our thoughts and condolences go to the Royal Family and all those who mourn the loss of Her Majesty the Queen at this time of great sadness.

“She has devoted her life to public service and tirelessly served the people of the Commonwealth.”

‘The country has lost a much loved monarch.’

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael said: “The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be felt keenly across the Northern Isles, as it will across the whole of the United Kingdom.

“For the past seventy years as our monarch she has been at the centre of our nation’s life.  The pace of change in that time has been exceptional but the continuity that she has given to our country has been a rock on which its progress has been built.

“The country has lost a much loved monarch but the King and the rest of the Royal Family have lost a mother, grandmother and a great grandmother.  We send them the deepest condolences and sympathies.”

Inverness councillor David Gregg said: “‘Throughout her lifetime of public service, the Queen was a shining example of duty, warmth and compassion.

“In her 70 years on the throne, the country she loved changed immeasurably, yet she managed to remain a constant in so many of our lives.

“The outpouring of grief from across the world are proof of how much she meant to so many. My thoughts are with her family and friends. ”

Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has issued the following statement on learning of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

“The faith, service and dedication of Her Majesty the Queen have been the hallmark of her long reign. 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.

“Her thoughtful and pertinent Christmas Day broadcasts gave an insight not only into her personal faith, but also reflected the changing concerns and attitudes of our country. They were always marked with quiet perception and a great deal of affection.

“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.

“Wherever the Queen went she brought encouragement and appreciation as she showed a genuine interest in the people she met.”

Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Geva Blackett said: “We are all incredibly sad at the news that Her Majesty has died. She gave her life to service and of course here was where she was able to enjoy freedom and relax.

“She will be missed the world over and my thoughts are with her family. I am honoured to have known her, she was truly remarkable.

Tributes from across UK

Former Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair said: “We have lost not just our monarch but the matriarch of our nation, the figure who more than any other brought our country together, kept us in touch with our better nature, personified everything which makes us proud to be British. “

Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsey Hoyle said: “For all of us, the Queen has been a constant presence in our lives – as familiar as a member of the family, yet one who has exercised a calm and steadying influence over our country.

“Most of us have never known a time when she was not there. Her death is not only a tragedy for the Royal family, but a terrible loss for us all.”

Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack said: “It is with great sadness, and our deepest condolences, that we mark the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

“Her long reign was 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.

“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.

“It was in Scotland we saw the Queen at her most relaxed and happy, particularly on her regular visits to her much-loved Balmoral. I know it would have been a comfort to her and her family that she was able to spend her last days in the place she loved so much.”