Following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of College Robin Macpherson shares reflections from across the Robert Gordon’s community. He says, “The passing of Her Majesty The Queen is a sad moment for the Robert Gordon’s community, as it marks the end of the longest reign in British history. Her affection for the north-east of Scotland, exemplified by her fondness for Balmoral, means there is a particular sense of pride and loyalty that was demonstrated so clearly when her funeral cortege passed through the streets of Aberdeen. Hundreds of Gordonians were present that day to pay their respects, and we undoubtedly lost a leader of remarkable personal integrity. Only recently we marked the Jubilee with a wonderful party for the Junior School in the Quad, and just as we were united in celebration of that historic event we are now united in grief. The whole Gordon’s community sends their respect and gratitude to the Royal Family for everything that Her Majesty did for us.”
Mrs Geddes, along with her Primary 5 class, organised a Jubilee Picnic in June for Nursery and Junior pupils. The sun was out and the Quadrangle provided a wonderful setting in front of The Auld Hoose. The Junior School Pipe Band and highland dancers kicked off the lunchtime celebrations with a fantastic performance to their peers. Miss Holdsorth and Madame Miller also knitted a postbox topper which was displayed in Tesco, Westhill, Aberdeenshire. Following the celebrations, they wrote to Her Majesty The Queen and the Prince of Wales (now King Charles III) to share their commemorations, along with copies of pupils' art of Queen Elizabeth II. During Summer, they were delighted to receive a response.
Miss Joanna Holdsworth, Teacher of Art comments: “I used to visit Crathie Kirk Church when The Queen was staying at Balmoral and loved seeing her and her various family members attend on a Sunday morning. She was an amazing lady and I am glad that Madame Miller and I were given the opportunity to create the postbox topper that many shoppers enjoyed and that the Primary 5’s were able to express themselves in the three portraits they made collaboratively.”
Madame Katherine Miller, Teacher of Primary French adds: “I am grateful to Miss Holdsworth for inviting me to collaborate with her and encouraging me to write to The Queen, as well as writing herself. The replies arrived two weeks before Her Majesty passed and I am honoured to have such a poignant momento.”
Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet, Daisy (S6) reflects: “As one of the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadets for Aberdeen I had the privilege of standing with the Lieutenancy party on Sunday 11th September in memory of Her Majesty The Queen. It was an honour to salute The Queen's cortege as she passed before crossing the King George VI Bridge. Though given the unfortunate circumstances, spending the event with the Lieutenancy party showed how important Her Majesty was to the people of Aberdeen. Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family had a precious connection to Aberdeen and the Shire which was especially evident on Sunday. Her Majesty was not only a monarch in Aberdeen but she was seen as a friend to the Lieutenancy and people of Aberdeen. Her Majesty will be remembered and greatly missed by the people of Aberdeen as we mourn her for not only her integrity as Queen but also as the kind and friendly nature she carried and shared across Aberdeen and the rest of the UK.”
Sandy Manson, Class of ‘79
Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, Sandy Manson, Class of ‘79 shares his reflections below of a remarkable reign which has been met with profound gratitude.
We will all remember where we were when we heard the announcement from Buckingham Palace that “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.” It was one of those moments that we all knew one day would sadly arrive but none of us wanted the magic and constancy of this remarkable 70 year reign to come to an end.
Just the Saturday before I had welcomed Their Royal Highnesses the then Duke and Duchess of Rothesay together with The Princess Royal and Sir Tim Lawrence to the Braemar Gathering and it was such a joyous occasion. Five days later we were all shocked with the loss of our much loved Queen.
The passing of the Queen at Balmoral was particularly poignant for me as Her Majesty had appointed me as Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire in April 2020. Aberdeenshire has always had a very enduring and close connection with The Queen and The Royal Family because of the Balmoral connection and her loss is therefore felt greatly throughout the North-East of Scotland especially in Deeside where Her Majesty has always played such an active role in engaging with and supporting the local communities.
The sadness shown in Aberdeenshire, throughout the country and the world reflects just how much we loved and admired Queen Elizabeth. On the Sunday following the death of Her Majesty, I had the great honour of paying tribute together with my 21 Deputy Lieutenants in Ballater as the cortege made its way from Balmoral to Edinburgh. In Ballater there were large crowds but a sombre silence as the cortege passed through, we all knew this was The Queen’s final journey through the beautiful countryside which she loved and where she felt so at home.
As a symbol of the enduring continuity of the Monarchy, I attended in Ballater the proclamation which is the historic and official announcement of the accession of the new King. We felt Ballater was a fitting venue for the proclamation given the very close connection between the town and The King.
Since the death of The Queen I have spoken to many people at home in Aberdeenshire, in Edinburgh for the very moving Service of Thanksgiving at St Giles’ and now in London for the State Funeral. I have spoken to those who queued for hours in both these cities to pay their final respects to Her Majesty, filing past her coffin and the message has been so consistent, “we wanted to say thank you for all you have done for us over so many years”. There has been great sadness but also such gratitude for a lifetime of tireless commitment and service to us all.
While we will all feel sad for the loss of such a remarkable person as The Queen, I personally take some comfort from the fact that she spent her final days surrounded by the mountains and forests at her beloved Balmoral. I believe this is what The Queen would have wanted and it also gave us the honour in Deeside, Aberdeenshire and Scotland to say our very sad but grateful thank you and farewell.
I believe with King Charles III we have an outstanding successor as Monarch and I am very confident that the special connection between the Monarch and Aberdeenshire will long endure.
God Save The King.
Tim Allan, Class of ‘84
Tim Allan attended Robert Gordon’s College from 1972 to 1984 and is one of the King’s Bodyguards for Scotland (Royal Company of Archers), who stood vigil while The Queen was lying-in-state in Westminster Hall. One of 70 who stood vigil, Tim was part of the nightwatch on Thursday 15th September 2022, from 12am to 6am.
Sharing this honourable moment with the College, he summarises: “As the King’s bodyguard, previously The Queen’s, and members of the Royal Household, we stand vigil in Westminster Hall in London for the Monarch on their passing.
“Standing with colleagues from the bodyguard, we were on a 20 minute rotation. It was an overwhelming space where everyone had to concentrate very hard. There was no movement, no speaking, and heads were lowered for the duration. There was absolute silence and a tremendous intense feeling in the hall.
“Everyone has their own stories to tell about The Queen and reasons for coming to pay their respects. It was a profound experience for anyone to enter the huge hall and see The Queen's coffin. A constant stream of people, who were respectful and silent, were deeply moved to be in this incredible space. It felt very personal. I think this is why people were queuing for hours.
“The main sense I got from people coming past is that there is such a profound sense of gratitude for The Queen’s service. This was an appropriate way of remembering Her Majesty's extraordinary service and duty to her country. It was a huge honour to be part of such a unique experience.”
Wg Cdr Montgomery
Wg Cdr Montgomery Dan Montgomery highlights: “Robert Gordon’s College has a proud history of service to the Crown. Our Combined Cadet Force unit was one of the first in the UK when the CCF was founded in 1948, just a few years before Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne. All training centres around the military core values of respect for others, courage, discipline, integrity and loyalty. Large numbers of the staff were granted The Queen’s Commission by Her Majesty over the years. Many former cadets have served, and continue to serve, in the Army, Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force with great distinction and in very senior positions. Many cadets have been appointed Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet, the most prestigious position in the CCF, meeting Senior Royals on several occasions. Staff have been honoured with Jubilee Medals and invitations to several Garden Parties. CCF representatives were privileged to represent the College alongside the Lord Lieutenant as the cortège of Her Majesty the Queen, the Captain-General of the CCF, passed through Aberdeen on Sunday 11 September.”