“The Queen would like to see Neil for a chat this afternoon, but only if he has time.”
That was the message conveyed from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to Canongate Kirk office during Royal Week 2021.
And yes, obviously, I did have time, and now find myself cherishing the memory of that chat more than ever.
The gentle manner in which the royal summons was issued – “but only if he has time” – was rather typical of the genuinely unassuming attitude that was for some an unexpected hallmark of The Queen’s character.
“You’d better answer that,” Her Majesty once famously told a flustered woman in a line-up whose mobile phone had started to ring at just the wrong moment.
“It might be someone important.”
And my personal favourite came when The Queen once referred to somebody (was it Roy Jenkins?) as “far too…