Like so many others, we never imagined a world that didn’t have the constant, reassuring presence of the Queen in it.

From the bank notes we hand over in a sticky pub on a Friday night, to the red, white, and blue bunting we hung at many a Jubilee party. From planning Christmas Day festivities around the not-to-be-missed 3pm address, to mercilessly analysing any glimpse of candid family life that we could get our hands on. The Queen was the solid foundation so many parts of our lives were built upon. Unwavering, she served dutifully until the very end, and always with admirable grace.

Watching Elizabeth’s final journey across the UK to the lowering of her coffin into the royal vault last night, the chapter has now officially closed on the second Elizabethan era. A reign that oversaw not only the key, defining moments in our own lives – but also of those experienced around the world.

For over 70 years the Queen’s tenure witnessed seismic change, un-chartered challenges, terrible tragedies, revolutionary liberations, and countless celebrations. The perfect example of weathering even the most taxing of storms – with no word of grumble or ingratitude – there is much we have learned from her shining example. Lessons that will resonate and ricochet around generations to come, long after the final piece of her tomb is enclosed in King George’s chapel.

Ma’am, we thank you for being the steadfast backdrop to so many of our memories. And we hope, in turn, that you’re thankful for the time you spent representing us to the wider world. Whatever the future holds for the country we live in, and the people who (in true British fashion) continue to keep calm and carry on, know that you fulfilled your promise and dedicated your life to the heavy task you were given.

As we move into a new era, and an uncertain time, one thing is for sure, Elizabeth II inspired respect, defined the notion of duty, and proved the credentials of a Queen – and a Queen of England at that. Her medieval namesake and predecessor would have been proud.

Thank you, Ma’am. We shall never see your like again.