Hovis

Dear diary,

It is a sombre and short diary this week as we reflect on the death of our beloved Queen Elizabeth II; our monarch, a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother and a brilliant equestrienne.

There can have been no life more dedicated to the service of a nation and a commonwealth as hers and her unerring and unwavering presence in our lives seemed so ageless that a life without her in it seemed impossible. She was, for many, an anchor in turbulent times, a quiet dignified calmness in the storms we have faced across the past 70 years of her reign.

Her love of equestrianism, her clear unbridled joy when surrounded by that which she loved the most was infectious and indeed some of the most beautiful photographs and videos that have emerged in the past week have been of Her late Majesty and many of her four-legged servants showcasing that sunshine smile and almost child-like pleasure that only a horse person can understand.

It was several years ago that I was humbled and honoured to be asked to attend the Royal Windsor Show and (albeit from a distance) saw The Queen watching one of her horses; a small but still regal figure so demurely and unobtrusively dressed, enjoying a spectacle she so evidently loved. I was privileged to meet several members of her family and to see the late Prince Phillip also come to watch the driving, making it a week of my life that will always be incredibly special.

Cool New Shoes Man only shared this week that his mentor was a farrier to Her Majesty and reported that she was riding in the days before she left for Balmoral and I know I certainly hope this to be true. What an incredible lady to still be riding at the age of 96. In this, as with so much more, she was an inspiration to us all.

Her love of our sport and of horses more widely was only matched by the very clear love and adoration with which she held her family and her beloved Prince Phillip. We can, therefore, only take solace from the fact she is reunited over the bridge with him and all her animals, pain free, uninhibited by an aged body and blessed with the freedom of her inimitable spirit.

While her family and our new King step through the formalities of the coming days and weeks, we must not forget that while to us such ceremony and duty is expected of our royal family that they are after all merely human and no matter the age, losing a mother only 18 months after the death of their father is a huge burden to bear. Regardless of our personal views at this time, we must show the very best of our humanity and lend a quiet support through this next immediate period of our history.

As they and the nation lay her to her final sleep we can only offer our thanks for her long and well-lived life, her guidance and her devotion to duty.

Travel well Your Majesty and thank you.

Your Faithful Servant,

Hovis

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