In the week since the sad passing of Her Majesty The Queen, much has been written about her remarkable life and dedicated reign over the past 70 years. Her loss has been keenly felt by the whole country, but most of all by the Royal Family who lost a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. Our hearts go out to the family and my deepest condolences are with them.

Throughout her reign, the Queen was always a source of reassurance, compassion and unity, linking people and communities locally, through to a national level in Scotland, the UK and across the Commonwealth. The huge sense of loss and outpouring of grief felt by so many millions throughout the UK and the rest of the world is testimony to how well loved she was by so many.

Her Majesty’s great love of Scotland was, of course, well known. In East Lothian we were fortunate to welcome her to the county on a number of occasions over the years. I know that the local people who met or saw her during the visits will cherish the memories of those times.

Queen Elizabeth had so many admirable qualities as a person and a leader, but for me what shone through above all else was her dedication to public service and to the nation. During her 70 years on the throne, and as the world changed around her, she never faltered in her sense of duty. Her commitment was an inspiration to everyone involved in public service and to the many organisations of which she was a Patron.

Whatever challenges we face as a country in the years ahead we will always be able to draw on the unique example the Queen has left us. We can also be assured that King Charles III will continue in the same vein and serve in the same dedicated manner as his mother.