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Church of Scotland Moderator recounts recent visit to the Queen at Balmoral

by Tola Mbakwe
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Church of Scotland

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has spoken of his shock at the Queen's just days after joining her at Balmoral for the weekend.

Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, was a guest of Her Majesty after preaching a sermon at Braemar and Crathie Parish Church and described the Queen as the "life and soul of things" and "full of fun".

Dr Greenshields had dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sunday with the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal just days before her death at her  Highland home on Thursday afternoon.

"It was a fantastic visit. Her memory was absolutely amazing and she was really full of fun," Dr Greenshields said.

"It came as a great shock to me when I heard she was gravely ill because she was in amazingly good form over the weekend.

"She was the life and soul of things. She was speaking very personally to me about her time there way back when she was a child, she was talking about her horses from the past, naming them from 40 years ago, people's names and places. She was quite remarkable."

Over a "very lively conversation", The Queen was in very good spirits and exercised a phenomenal memory for places, names, people and horses, Dr Greenshields added,

"She talked about her memories of Balmoral as a child, her father the King and the Church of Scotland, which she had a very fond affection for," he said.

"She asked about me, my ministry and my family and came across as a happy person and was very gracious.

"It was a very engaging and thoroughly enjoyable experience."

Dr Greenshields also paid tribute to the faith, service and dedication which he said had been the legacy 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," he said.

"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."

He told Premier that she had a "warm and affectionate relationship" with the Church of Scotland. 

"She had a working knowledge of where the Church in Scotland was, how things were in Scotland. And every year there would be a letter presented by her to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, to which we would respond.

"And it was evident that the letter, had certain formalities about it, but also year on year she understood the challenges at the church based in Scotland."

The Queen attended a Church of Scotland church wihile staying at Balmoral Castle. Dr Greenshields described her as a normal congregant. 

"When she attended church, she was just an ordinary worshipper, there would be no different shown. She wouldn't be welcomed as a queen. She was just another worshipper in the congregation."

The Church of Scotland has produced a set of hymns, prayers and other worship materials to help its members mark the Queen's passing. 

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