Queen’s guest opens up on conversation with monarch days before death

Queen: Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard reflect on funeral

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Queen Elizabeth II told one of her guests at Balmoral Castle she had “no regrets” just a few days before her death. Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, stayed at Her Majesty’s beloved Scottish residence the weekend before she passed away.

Appearing on ABC News, the cleric spoke about the late monarch’s unwavering faith and how it had helped her throughout her record-breaking reign.

He recalled: “She said right at the beginning of her time when she was becoming Queen that she was going to ask God for wisdom.

“And that’s something which persisted throughout her life.

“When I was chatting to her about her faith she said she had no regrets at all.

“She had power but she used it in a way that was beneficial to others by serving her country and by doing it so well.”

The Queen, who died aged 96 on September 8, appeared “vital” and “so engaging” during their last meeting, the reverend added.

He said: “It seemed just astonishing that the woman who had been so vital, so alive, so engaging, should be all of a sudden, dead and away from us.”

Providing an insight into the Queen’s health days before her passing, he added: “She was 96. And you could see her fragility. 

“But as soon as she started talking, a very different kind of person emerged.

“Somebody whose memory was exceptional, somebody who knew everything about you, so she’d done her homework.”

Dr Greenshields added the late sovereign did not lose her famous sense of humour in her last days.

He said: “I was staying in the Tower Rooms and she said, ‘Your Queen is sending you to the Tower!’

“And she just smiled at me as she said that — she made sure that I understood that I got the joke rather than it being too serious.”

The reverend was one of the clerics who spoke during the state funeral of Elizabeth II.

Dr Greenshields delivered prayers during the hour-long service held at Westminster Abbey, reflecting on the Queen’s “long life and reign”.

He also recalled, “with gratitude her gifts of wisdom, diligence and service”.

The reverend also spoke during the thanksgiving service held at St Giles’ Cathedral days after the Queen’s death.

After noting hundreds of tributes had already poured in for the Queen, he added it was “beginning to sink in that she is gone from us – ‘gone home’ to express her own words”.

The Queen was known for her strong faith, of which she often provided glimpses of during her yearly Christmas addresses.

As the British monarch, the Queen was Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

It will now be King Charles III’s duty to take on these roles.

At his coronation, the new sovereign will pledge to rule according to law, exercise justice with mercy and maintain the Church of England before being anointed with holy oil, blessed and consecrated by the archbishop of Canterbury.

However, the King has also promised to protect “no less diligently” than Christianity the multiple faiths in Britain.

Last week, during a meeting with religious leaders in the UK held at Buckingham Palace, the King promised to safeguard “the space for Faith itself and its practice through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals”.

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