Prominent figures across the West Highlands and Islands have spoken of their sadness, respect, and honour as they pay their condolences following the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, who died peacefully on Thursday afternoon (8th September) at her Scottish estate in Balmoral.
Queen Elizabeth II died aged 96 having served as the UK’s longest-serving monarch, reigning for 70 years.
The Queen’s Coronation took place on 2 June 1953 following her accession on 6 February 1952. Fifteen UK prime ministers have led the country during Her Majesty’s seven-decade reign, spanning from Winston Churchill through to Liz Truss, who on becoming the UK’s 56th Prime Minister, was asked to form a new Government by The Queen during a meeting at Balmoral on Tuesday.
Among those leading the tributes from across the Highlands and Islands, was Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford who said: “My thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences are with the family of Her Majesty The Queen.
“People across Scotland, the UK and the world will be mourning the loss of Her Majesty.
“The Queen was a constant figurehead throughout our lives, and she showed an inspiring commitment to the values of leadership, duty and service throughout her long reign.
“In the period ahead, there will be time to reflect on the incomparable legacy and impact that The Queen had on these islands, our history and world events.
“For now, my thoughts are with her family, who above all have lost a cherished mother, grandmother and great grandmother.”
Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP, Kate Forbes echoed Mr Blackford’s sentiments, she said: “The passing of Her Majesty The Queen is deeply sad news, and my immediate thoughts are with those closest to her who now mourn the loss of a mother, grandmother and great grandmother as well as a monarch.
“The Queen has exemplified resilience, faithfulness, humility, respect and grace – values which should be celebrated, cherished and aspired to. She lived a life of immense and constant service from beginning to end.
“As the First Minister has already said, it is a profoundly sad moment for the UK, the Commonwealth and the world.”
Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant, added: “I am saddened about the passing of Her Majesty The Queen and offer my deepest condolences to the Royal Family, and those who worked closely with her.
“Her Majesty has been at the forefront of British culture for 70 years. She has been steady in the face of political upheaval and represented a comforting consistency for people across the commonwealth during turbulent times. She will be sorely missed and leave a lasting legacy of patience, practicality and humour.”
Meanwhile, at the Highland Council locations all flags have been lowered to half-mast and a period of silence will be observed, in accordance with national protocol.
While as a mark of respect, and in line with national guidance, the Council will only be carrying out essential business meetings of The Highland Council during the period of mourning.
The Convener of The Highland Council, Councillor Bill Lobban expressed his deepest sympathies to The Royal Family, he said: “On behalf of The Highland Council and communities of the Highlands, we join the nation in mourning for Her Majesty The Queen. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to all members of The Royal Family and Household and honour Her Majesty The Queen’s long service and duty to the country.”
Books of condolence and gardens of remembrance are open at locations across the Highlands – details of which can found at the Highland Council website.
On Friday morning, Skye and Raasay members on the Highland Council held a short ceremony at Somerled Square in Portree where a minute’s silence was observed.
A Garden of Remembrance was established for people to pay their respects, in which Councillor Calum Munro placed a wreath. A book of condolence will be placed in the chamber at Tigh na Sgire in the Skye capital
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has also expressed deep sadness at the news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Flags are flying at half-mast at all Comhairle offices as a mark of respect.
The Comhairle has opened books of condolence at each of its offices in Stornoway, Tarbert, Balivanich and Castlebay for anyone who wishes to pay tribute. Please note that the books of condolence will be open from 1pm today and will remain open during working hours, Monday to Friday.
The Comhairle has assigned West Camp in Balivanich, Castlebay Linkspan, the area adjacent to the ferry carpark in Tarbert and Perceval Square in Stornoway as suitable areas for laying flowers, should members of the public wish to do so.
Iain Macaulay, Lord-Lieutenant, Western Isles, also wished to send his deep sympathy to all the members of the Royal Family on the sad passing of HM The Queen.
He said: “The Queen has been a symbol of stability for the past 70 years as monarch, providing an outstanding example of service, dedication and Christian faith.
“During this extraordinary long reign, the longest of any British Sovereign, the world has seen many changes and her passing will have a significant impact in the UK, across the Commonwealth and throughout the world.
“In this period of mourning and reflection, we acknowledge the strong and close connection between HM the Queen and her people. Communities across the Western Isles fondly remember with great pride The Queen’s visits to these islands in 1956, 1979 and 2002.
He added: “We look back with gratitude and great respect for the Queen’s wonderful achievements in her long reign and offer our support and loyalty to the King.
As a mark of respect, the Camanachd Association and the the Skye and Lochalsh Amateur Football Association have both announced that all this weekend’s shinty fixtures and events, and all football will be cancelled.
The Kyle RNLI has also decided to cancel its Maritime Day tomorrow (Saturday 10 September) in Kyle of Lochalsh out of respect to Her Majesty.
All parliamentary business has also been suspended.
And the Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has issued the following statement on learning of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“The faith, service and dedication of Her Majesty the Queen have been the hallmark of her long reign. She has been the steady constant in the life of our nation for over seven decades and most of us will have grown up knowing only her as our monarch.
“Her thoughtful and pertinent Christmas Day broadcasts gave an insight not only into her personal faith, but also reflected the changing concerns and attitudes of our country. They were always marked with quiet perception and a great deal of affection.
“Tireless in her duty, the Queen has demonstrated a life of selfless dedication. Her love for her family was mirrored in her love for our nation and the wider Commonwealth.
“Wherever the Queen went she brought encouragement and appreciation as she showed a genuine interest in the people she met.
He finished by saying: “The Church of Scotland has valued Her late Majesty’s generous support, and seen in her private devotion someone for whom faith remained central throughout her long life.
“We send our heartfelt condolences to the King, and all members of the Royal Family, assuring them of our prayers and best wishes in the days ahead.”
King Charles – who will be known as King Charles III – will formally be proclaimed monarch by the Accession Council at St James’s Palace on Saturday, according to the Independent
Buckingham Palace have said that King and his wife, Camilla, now Queen Consort, will return to London today (Friday), where he is expected to address the nation.
On Thursday, the Royal Family issued the following statement from His Majesty The King