Dean remembers Queen’s ‘unsentimental focus on the task at hand’ ahead of state funeral

One of the key figures in the Scottish Kirk has spoken of his “sense of privilege” at being involved in the Queen’s funeral.

Speaking ahead of the event, Very Reverend Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland, has shared his own personal appreciation of the monarch and her 70-year reign.

As well as her dedication to duty, he says she had many other strengths which had often gone “unnoticed”.

He highlights her warmth and willingness to listen to people, her discipline, discretion and unassailable religious faith.

“While the events that have punctuated her life have been recited, some constant features of this long reign have often gone unnoticed – especially those qualities that outlasted so many movements, trends and fashions in our national life,” he said.

After days of lying-in-state in Edinburgh and London, the coffin of the late Queen will begin its final journey on Monday morning as part of a grand state funeral.

First will be a religious service at Westminster Abbey before the cortege travels to Windsor Castle for a more intimate committal service and, finally, a private burial beside her late husband Prince Philip in the royal vault.

The Dean is one of at least three key Church of Scotland figures involved in events.

Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, will lead a prayer for the Queen at her state funeral service in Westminster Abbey

Right Reverend Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, will lead a prayer in Westminster Abbey.

Later, Reverend Kenneth Mackenzie, domestic chaplain to the Queen and minister for Crathie Church, near Balmoral, will take part in ceremonies at Windsor.

Prof Fergusson was appointed a chaplain to the Queen in 2015, becoming Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland from 2019.

“I met the Queen on various ceremonial and social occasions, and twice I was privileged to be her weekend guest at Balmoral,” he said.

Very Reverend Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland, has shared his own personal appreciation of the monarch and her 70-year reign and expressed his “sense of privilege” to be involved in the Queen’s funeral

“In the numerous tributes paid to her over the past week, I can recognise the Queen I met.

“These form a coherent pattern in describing someone who invariably displayed kindness, determination, cheerfulness and much practical wisdom.

“Perhaps more than any monarch since James VI took the road south to unite the crowns in 1603, the Queen has enjoyed a deep connection to the people and land of Scotland.

“There has been a fittingness about the peaceful end to her reign at Balmoral Castle.”

He says a characteristic of the Queen was to look to the future rather than dwelling on the past.

“There was an unsentimental focus on the task at hand,” he said.

“Paying attention to other people was another hallmark of her long reign.

“The Queen gave her undivided attention, however briefly or however long, to those around her.”

The Dean says he was “honoured” to be in the party accompanying her coffin on its flight to England.

He added: “I look forward with a sense of privilege to attending her funeral service in Westminster Abbey.”

Dr Greenshields said: “The tributes have been many and heartfelt and we now are on the eve of those final services and rites when the Queen is finally laid to rest.”

The funeral will be “a time of reflection,” he said.

“It is also a time to move on and we do so in hope and expectation.”

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