Leader: The Queen's love for Scotland was mutual
Scotland helped shape, and then formed the background to, much of the Queen’s life.
Ben Pimlott's magisterial biography, The Queen, recounts how a baby Princess Elizabeth was often in Scotland, either with her Bowes-Lyon grandparents at Glamis Castle in Forfarshire, or her Royal grandparents at Balmoral.
Later, the Aberdeenshire estate was compared favourably with the grimness of postwar London: "there was luxury, sunshine and gaiety," recounted John Colville, Principal Private Secretary to Sir Winston Churchill, "with picnics on the moors every day; pleasant siestas in a garden ablaze with roses; stocks and antirrhinums; songs and games; and a most agreeable company with which to disport oneself."
Little wonder that the Queen would return to Balmoral regularly, spending as much as a quarter of every year there. Little wonder the fondness reciprocated by the people of Aberdeenshire in recent days, in their vigil outside her home.
That mutual fondness also had its political importance. Over her reign demands for constitutional change only became stronger. But the authority and affection the Queen held meant the mainstream of those seeking change were never, at least publicly, seeking to replace the Queen as head of a Scottish state.
Yesterday, the rest of Scotland had an opportunity to bid farewell, and did so from pavements, lay-bys, bridges and embankments as her cortege made its way down the A90. It was a colourful, fitting farewell.
We were, of course, also bidding farewell to the Queen’s solidity, her reassuring link to a past that she was able to bring to the present, to her constancy in an era of apparently unresting change.
King Charles III will be in Scotland today to process behind his mother's coffin up Edinburgh's Royal Mile, to St Giles' Cathedral.
As we bid farewell to the Queen, we will then look to him to serve in the name of stability and continuity, and hope he will - in the footsteps of his mother - be able to build the sometimes strained bonds that tie this nation together.