The Queen remembered: When Her Majesty came to Bedford

As the world comes to terms with the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, one reporter looks back at her visit to Bedford in the 90s
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

I was chief reporter at Bedford Herald in 1996 (swallowed up by the Times & Citizen years later) and our newsroom found out the Queen was due to visit the town.

It’s a task not many reporters relish, I confess, as there’s a lot of waiting around but the decision was made I would be the one dispatched.

I mean, come on, who better than a confirmed republican to cover the event so as not to get swept away in a wave of sycophancy – but my goodness, what a spectacle it was.

Queen Elizabeth II who died yesterday in BalmoralQueen Elizabeth II who died yesterday in Balmoral
Queen Elizabeth II who died yesterday in Balmoral

Crowds & crowds & yes more crowds packed the town to see this icon. To see their Queen resplendent in head-to-toe purple/blue.

Read More
Queen Elizabeth II dies: Will there be a bank holiday and how many days of mourn...

I kept it professional, asking members of our proud town what she had just said to them as I followed our monarch through the streets.

But my lasting memory – which I will always hold dear – is when the Queen and I took a break from all the chaos and hard work just outside the former town hall.

We locked eyes … then, we took a well-earned deep breath together … before continuing on with our respective jobs.

It was quite the moment and on reflection hard to sum up how I feel, especially now.

Yes, it was a brief moment but a powerful one.

She has been a constant in my life. She’s been a constant in all our lives.

Her service, her sense of duty, her commitment, her discreet appeal – even her ‘never complain, never explain’ mantra – I regret to say we won’t see the likes of her again.

Even if you are not a royalist, her death must surely resonate. Far too many of us have of course been called to a hospital bedside to be with a loved one in their final hours.

Silly me, I thought she’d live forever. What a life. What a legacy.

Farewell, ma’am. Rest easy.