It is unusual for the death of a ninety-six-year-old woman in declining health to create a tsunami of shock around the world. But it is a testament to the steadfastness and constancy of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II over seven decades of dedicated public service that the announcement of her passing on the evening of September 8th was met with an outpouring of great shock as well as great sadness.

Today is an opportune moment to reflect on the phenomenal impact that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has made through her decades of public service to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Few would disagree that she was the greatest ambassador that Britain has ever seen. It is hard to imagine anyone else who could have done more or worked harder to promote the interests of Britain and the Commonwealth worldwide.

In addition to hosting monarchs, emperors and presidents during their official state visits to the United Kingdom, the Queen has made over 250 international trips and visited more than 115 countries. Her decades of experience in dealing with world leaders helped to forge strong business connections and strengthen the bonds of friendship between nations. She achieved this by travelling further than any other monarch in history. She was fortunate to be the only person in Britain who did not require a passport to travel!

Throughout her long reign, the Queen honoured the solemn promise she made on her twenty-first birthday to devote her whole life to our service. The world has benefitted incalculably as a result. To fully appreciate her commitment to bringing nations together under a banner of peace, equality, friendship and mutual understanding, one has only to examine the number of official state visits that she hosted and the Commonwealth tours and State visits that she made during her reign. The fact that she was still demonstrating her unswerving commitment to duty and public service just two days before she died shows that she honoured her promise right up to the very end.

Shortly after the death of her beloved husband, the Queen reflected eloquently that "grief is the price we pay for love". One need only look at the front pages of newspapers all over the world today to see how greatly she was loved and how much she will be missed.

God save the King!