The paradox has hit home: it was the inevitability we never really believed would happen. But happen it did. On Thursday 8 September, Great Britain lost arguably its greatest ever monarch. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's reign of 70 years and 214 days was the longest of any British monarch and the second-longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country. She was enduring, outstanding, and a presence in our collective Britishness that is difficult to describe, but wholly evident now that she has departed.
Born on 21 April 1926 in a house in Bruton Street, not far from the Favourbrook store, the baby called Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor - the first child of Albert, Duke of York, second son of George V, and his duchess, the former Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, would grow up to become an icon of fortitude and service to her nation. With a childhood that must seem unfathomable to most of us, she nevertheless grew up with an indelible sense of duty. Winston Churchill, the future prime minister, was quoted as saying that she possessed "an air of authority that was astonishing in an infant".
In January 1952, Elizabeth, then 25, set off with Philip for a Royal overseas tour. Bid farewell by her father, the King, at the airport, it would be the last time she would see him alive. She was coronated in June, 1953, a young girl thrust into the international spotlight and an unlikely figurehead for a country picking itself up from the turmoil of World War II.
Seen as out of touch with the common populace in the 60s, the 'monarchy' had an image makeover, becoming the 'Royal Family' in a bid to tie closer bonds with its people. With the scrutiny on the family increasing year after year, it became apparent that they were like every other family in the country, not without their scandals, tragedies, hardships, and breakthroughs. Throughout them all, the Queen was steadfast in her figure as matriarch. Whatever was going on behind the scenes, we somehow knew that this lightning rod of a Queen, woman, and mother was mucking on, ploughing forward, with honour and grace and duty.
As a brand that specialises in formalwear, we always had a fond place in our heart for Her Majesty, watching eagerly for her arrival at Royal Ascot each year. She adored horse racing, and it has been wonderful to in some small way share this passion with her.