Steph Lawrence – Attending the State funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

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Steph was chosen as a recent recipient of an MBE in the Queens Birthday Jubilee Honours and in particular as she represented community in the NHS, read her blog of the day here….

I had the unbelievable honour of attending the state funeral of Her Majesty the Queen on Monday 19th September 2022.

I received the telephone call inviting me from the Cabinet Office whilst out doing clinical work. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I had been chosen as a recent recipient of an MBE in the Queens Birthday Jubilee Honours and in particular as I represented community in the NHS.

This was followed up with a formal invitation from the Palace and a flurry of buying and borrowing activity to make sure I had the right attire for such an amazing occasion!

I set off to London with hundreds of other people on Sunday and stayed overnight. The day of the funeral started at 05:30am to make sure I could get across London to the meeting point in good time. There followed all the security checks and queueing to get through. The atmosphere was amazing, and everyone was incredibly friendly. The whole operation was amazingly smooth, and I have never seen as many Police and Security Personnel in my whole life!

Arriving at the Abbey was a surreal moment that I shared with a colleague from the Queens Nursing Institute. We were guided to our seats right next to the Great West Door where all the congregation arrived over the following three hours. We were so close to people I had only ever seen on television, and it was just incredible to watch the procession of world leaders including presidents and royals and then our very own royal family. What hit me was that this is a family just like mine earlier this year saying goodbye to their Mum, Grandma, Great Grandma, Cousin etc. but doing so in such a public way. Cameras pointed on them from every direction and the eyes of not just those in the Abbey but across the world through the medium of television.

The service was beautiful and moving. A traditional Christian service but with leaders of all faiths represented in the Abbey. The music, the readings and the hymns all chosen to reflect the life of an amazing leader and our Queen of 70 years. A leader who committed herself to public duty at the age of 21 and never wavered from that.

I am still pinching myself that I was actually there and feel so incredibly honoured to have represented nursing, community and of course Leeds GP Confederation at this most incredible event. I am so grateful for this opportunity and honoured that I was there to represent all of us.