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A life of service until the very end, surrounded by her family in a home she loved

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In the rain they gathered outside Buckingham Palace.

A journey some will have made many times before for moments of celebration, now standing together to pay their respects.

The shock at the news was compounded by the fact that we’d only seen the Queen on Tuesday, carrying out one of her most important constitutional roles as she was adamant that she would welcome her 15th Prime Minister at Balmoral.

But the statement from the palace at lunchtime on Thursday had been ominous, her family rushing to be by her side adding more concern.

Live updates: Worldwide tributes pour in for ‘remarkable’ Queen

The enormity of the news that came at 6.30pm, that she had died at Balmoral, will only truly sink in over the coming days.

More on the Queen:
Mourners gather at Buckingham Palace to pay their respects
Six moments that defined the Queen’s reign

This will now be a period where the pendulum of events will swing between mourning the death of a much loved monarch and the country welcoming a new king.

The constitutional change is immediate and immense. King Charles III has already taken on all the responsibilities of head of state, but at the same time will also be dealing with a very personal grief with the loss of his beloved mother.

More on the King:
King to be known as Charles III – as William and Kate become Duke and Duchess of Cornwall
Will Charles bring a different type of reign?

As we think of her family together at Balmoral, a place where they spent so many summers together, the final days for the monarch could not have been more fitting.

She didn’t have to give up on her duties, she was able to live a life of service until the very end. And most importantly her family were there, in a home she loved, secluded from the public gaze.

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