In the corridors of Holyrood as the Queen's death was announced

Whispers permeated the air as we all knew we were about to witness a moment in history.

Sitting in the press gallery which lies above the Holyrood debating chamber, it was a fairly ordinary Thursday as First Minister’s Questions started up again after parliamentary recess.

Important discussions were had on the cost of living crisis and all the journalists watching were contemplating what the best line to take from the debate would be.

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Yet, murmurs began to rumble in the group and we began to furiously scroll through news updates and social media.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party at Meerkat Cross, Edinburgh ahead of the arrival of the coffin of HRH The Queen, which will be taken to Holyrood (Photo: Katielee Arrowsmith / SWNS).
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"The Queen is either dead or dying”, a fellow journalist told me as Nicola Sturgeon answered questions in the chamber.

A switch occurred in my brain. I immediately went from alert but calm, knowing what I was doing, to completely out of my depth.

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Any newsroom has discussed this occurrence. Plans have been made.

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But no planning can stop you feeling that rush of panic which ensues when a once in a lifetime event such as this occurs.

The murmurs from the press gallery soon became apparent amongst the MSPs below. Phones were checked and a wave of whispering descended into parliament.

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The moment we knew this was not simply gossip was when Douglas Ross crossed the floor to speak to the Presiding Officer. During FMQs, this never happens. Something was very wrong.

However, the debate continued despite anxious minds being pre-occupied by the potential revelation.

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When Alison Johnstone gave her remarks to conclude FMQs, her final statement was what we were all waiting on: “I am aware...of the health of Her Majesty the Queen.”

Such an announcement would never be made if it was not serious and so our day was flipped upside down.

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When the Queen’s passing was announced later, parliament went into lockdown.

To be in parliament during such a historic moment was all-consuming.

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All talks centred around the death. A parliament I knew became something else. Teams cleared their desks and a ten day standstill of the normal parliamentary schedule was announced.

Political leaders and their teams went into speech-writing mode as they knew the world’s media would soon descend onto Edinburgh.

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No matter how you feel about the monarchy, no one can deny that our political landscape, for the time being, has changed dramatically.



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