Memories of HM the Queen from some former Moderators
Published on 21 April, 2016
We asked some former Moderators to share their memories of the Queen. Here's what they told us:
Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance, Dean of the Chapel Royal
"Over the years I have been privileged to have had a number of conversations with her. I am always struck by the detailed account she can give of practically any event during her reign. She really does have a sense of the 'big picture' that no one else can provide and eventually one realises with amusement, 'How could anyone else?'
The Chapel Royal ( present and retired members) From left: Rev Ian Paterson; Very Rev Dr John Cairns; Rev Alistair Bennett; Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison; Very Rev John Chalmers; Rev Prof David Fergusson; Very Rev Prof Iain Torrance, Dean of the Order of the Thistle and Dean of the Chapel Royal; Very Rev Dr James Harkness; Rev Neil Gardner; Very Rev Dr Finlay Macdonald; Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood; Very Rev Dr James Simpson; Rev Charles Robertson; Rev Dr Norman Drummond.
"I am also always aware of how she knows and loves this country of Scotland. I occasionally meet people from London who mean the Church of Scotland nothing but good, but don't understand it from the inside and make the kind of little slips that show that they don't quite understand the Church of Scotland. The Queen is never like that and has an exhaustive knowledge of the Church and its ministers and its troubles and its joys. That is because, as I have found over the years, she is genuinely and deeply interested in our country and our church. This is because it is her church too and her faith means an enormous amount to her."
Very Rev David Arnott
"She has a real concern and love for the Church of Scotland and understands the role of Moderator. She is very much a British Queen, not just an English one and has shown her support for the Church of Scotland through attendance at the General Assembly and always remains extremely well briefed on our activities.
"They say of Balmoral 'if you're not a Royalist when you go, you'll be one by the time you come away'. The Saturday night BBQ is always splendid as these are family events. What comes across is her extraordinary ordinariness. With a great ability to put you at your ease, at the same time she never steps out of the role – she's always Queen."
Very Rev David Lunan
"What came across to me in meeting the Queen is that she is a person with a deep faith in God. I believe it is that which is the source of her graciousness, her high sense of duty, and her capacity to have a concern for everyone."
Very Reverend Dr John Cairns
"Anyone who has the pleasure and privilege of meeting The Queen is instantly struck by the way she gives her full attention to whomsoever she is speaking whether it be an extended conversation or a fleeting moment. I have often been asked "How does the Queen always seem so interested in the people she is meeting?" I think the answer is very simple – The Queen is genuinely interested."
Very Rev Sheilagh Kesting
"The thing I remember about her is how easy it was to relax with her. She is well-briefed and takes a personal interest in you. She has a quick sense of humour. There's always laughter around. She's very good at seeing the funny side of things. It's sometimes difficult to remember you're speaking to the Queen."
Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood
"I remember walking along the corridor of Balmoral, absolutely shaking and for two reasons: one I was about to be introduced to the Queen and be a guest for the weekend and the other was the sight of the corgis lying sleepily on the carpet, having had a fear of dogs since childhood.
"The Equerry who had been sent to fetch me, put a comforting arm around my shoulder and assured me I would be fine -but nothing really prepares you for that first meeting in the beautiful sitting room and the Queen in casual clothes welcoming you into her home.
"On two occasions I have been the only 'outsider' with the first time only family guests and the other, the only guest. However the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh go out of their way to make you feel relaxed and a welcome guest."