London: Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland on Friday offered tributes to Queen Elizabeth II, who died the previous day aged 96, describing her an extraordinary person who lived an extraordinary life and her devotion to duty was only matched by her skill as Head of the Commonwealth of Nations.
In a tribute, Scotland said: “It is with the greatest sorrow and sadness that we mourn the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. After a long life of faith, duty and service, a great light has gone out.
“Her Majesty was an extraordinary person, who lived an extraordinary life: a constant presence and example for each of us, guiding and serving us all for as long as any of us can remember.
“Throughout her reign, and seven decades of extraordinary change and challenge, Her Majesty was the epitome of duty, stability, wisdom and grace.
“Her Majesty loved the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth loved her. During her reign she travelled more than any monarch in history, visiting every part of our family of nations. Between 1971 and 2018, she missed only one Heads of Government Meeting. Her devotion to duty was only matched by her skill as Head of the Commonwealth of Nations, always a generous host and consummate diplomat.”
The Secretary-General said in Her Majesty’s final Commonwealth Day message, she described “our family of nations as a modern, vibrant and connected Commonwealth that combines a wealth of history and tradition with the great social, cultural and technological advances of our time”.
“That the Commonwealth stands ever taller is a credit to all who have been involved. The growth and vibrancy of our modern Commonwealth is a credit to her and testament to her dedication, wisdom and leadership.
“In 1947, before she ascended to the throne, she stated that ‘whether my life be long or short I will dedicate it to the service of the Commonwealth. Her Majesty honoured that promise,” Scotland added.
As the sixth Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, she said she would always be “grateful for her warmth and kindness to me”.
“Our interactions were a delight, and it was wonderful to see her passion and animation whenever discussing anything relating to the Commonwealth. Her long years of interaction and partnership with generations of world leaders and their people, particularly the young, gave her extraordinary insight, which brought ever-more life and meaning to her service,” the Secretary-General added.
Elizabeth breathed her last at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, one of her four ‘royal’ residences and possibly her favourite.
Her family from near and afar had gathered there to be at her side in her final moments.