President’s Message: Remembering the Queen and those who Served Her
It is an extraordinary week when the appointment of a new Prime Minister and the announcement of an unprecedented business and household energy support package, is a minor side story. This is what we have witnessed after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the country’s longest serving monarch. Many of us will have our own memories of the Queen whether that was meeting her on a visit to Fife or indeed maybe like me you are part of the one third of the country who were fortunate enough to meet and chat with the Queen.
The first time I saw the Queen was in 1982 and I remember my mum picking my sister and I up from primary school in Markinch and taking us so we could stand at the side of the road to see the Queen on her way from Methil to Glenrothes. Twenty two years after waving to the Queen I found myself shaking hands with her at the Royal Garden Party in Edinburgh. I arrived not knowing what to expect at the Garden Party and certainly wasn’t anticipating being amongst the select few who were invited out of the rows which are formed to allow the Queen to walk around the guests to chat to the Queen. The last occasion where I saw her was, on what I think was her penultimate visit to Fife, at the opening of the Queensferry Crossing on 4th September 2017. The sense of anticipation as we watched her car cross the Bridge was palpable. Unlike Sunday when her coffin was driven over the bridge in glorious sunshine the weather didn’t play ball that day and as the Queen arrived we discovered why we had been given ponchos on our arrival.
As individuals and businesses, we are all choosing our own ways to reflect on, remember and celebrate her long reign and the succession of King Charles III to the throne. Like many firms and businesses, Fife Chamber will be closed on 19th September when the Queen’s funeral takes place. If you were someone in Fife who was involved in Operation Unicorn I want to say thank you for ensuring the Queen’s final journey from Balmoral was dignified and allowed those on the route the opportunity to pay their respects.
Many words have been used to describe the Queen and so many of them have paid tribute to her profound sense of duty and service, and her work ethic. She knew what her duty was, and she never gave less than 100% to carry it out, and that is a timeless legacy that she leaves behind to inspire us all in our own lives and in our own businesses.
Leuchars both in its time as an RAF base and latterly hosting army personnel were visited by the Queen on a number of occasions. I understand she first visited RAF Leuchars in 1957 and indeed it was Leuchars which hosted the Queen’s final visit to Fife in 2018 in her role as Colonel in Chief of Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys). We will all have been struck by the role of the armed forces as we come together to celebrate the life of Queen Elizabeth II. Like the Queen always did, they have been performing their duties, diligently, professionally and without fuss. Like Queen Elizabeth II was, and King Charles III will be, they are a constant and reassuring part of the bedrock and fabric of the country.
We will soon be able to celebrate our military personnel and veterans just like we are currently celebrating the Queen’s remarkable reign. Our Armed Forces Celebration Lunch at the end of this month was already going to be a poignant day but it will be even more so now as we thank the Armed Forces for the service they gave the Queen during her 70 years on the throne, and they will now unflinchingly give to King and Country in the years ahead.