Hi Emma,

I suppose you’ve heard the news about the Queen dying, it’s such sad news, isn’t it? She’s been on the throne so long that everyone on TV seems to have a different memory of her. I’ll always remember her producing a marmalade sandwich from her handbag when she had tea with Paddington Bear. That just shows what a good sense of humour she had. I mean, that sandwich must have made a right mess in her bag. Her lippy must have been covered in it.

She was a really lovely lady, wasn’t she, Emma? It was like the sun coming out from between dark clouds when she smiled and her eyes were piercing, even when she got a bit old and doddery.

What are we going to do without her, Em? I mean, she’s always been there hasn’t she. No matter how bad things got in the world she was there, giving us that smile and telling us everything was going to be okay. And it always was in the end. Remember in the pandemic when she said, ‘We’ll meet again?’ Even Gran cried at that. Apparently, she nicked the line from an old war time song, but so what? She can’t be expected to use a Taylor Swift song at her age, can she?

Mum says she’ll be back with Prince Phillip again now, so that’s something good to come out of it. I hope there’s someone waiting for me when I go, Em. As long as it’s not my ex, Simon. I can’t think about spending another hour in his company let alone eternity. I hope there’s someone else waiting for the queen too. I mean, she’ll be really happy to see Phillip I would imagine but she’ll want some friends around to have a good girly goss with, won’t she? Blokes never talk about anything other than football and politics, so she’d need a break from that. I’m sure she’ll want to know what her mates thinks about the latest episode of TOWIE or Love Island. That’s if they can get FREEVIEW up there… they must be able to… it’s beamed down from space, so she’ll probably get to know what happens before we do.

Mum has been crying a lot. She bursts into tears every time the BBC newsreader repeats the headline. Gran, an arch royalist, is made of sterner stuff. She took herself off to her room for a few moments of quiet reflection, then came back wearing a Sex Pistols t shirt she bought for the jubilee in 1976 and her union jack bloomers. Dad said she was being disrespectful, but Gran called him a commie fifth columnist. who had never liked, ‘Little Lizzie,’ and should be hung as a traitor.

Gran always calls the queen, ‘Little Lizzie as though she’s a girl that lived on her street when she was growing up. When we were having our tea, she told us about VE night in London on the day the war officially ended. The area outside Buckingham Palace was swarming with people and Gran, although she was only thirteen, went out to join them. She reckons she saw, Little Lizzie and her sister Margaret, dancing and singing along with the crowd on the Mall.

Gran told us about how she got snogged by a sailor that night. (Her not Little Lizzie). Dad said, that would have been the first of many over the years. Gran narrowed her eyes and said Dad was just jealous because even the most desperate of sailors wouldn’t snog him.

Dad is in a bit of an awkward place. He’s always been a republican and has often said, (mainly when under the influence of drink,) that the lot of them will be put up against the wall and shot when the revolution comes.

‘I didn’t mean her,’ he bleated when Gran reminded him of his drunken rants. ‘If she had stood for president, I would have voted for her.’

The news has hit Dad a lot harder than he will admit to. His voice keeps going croaky and he claimed the tears that were running down his face were the result of Mum putting too much chilli powder in the dinner.  He finished his meal in silence, then said he was going to organise a whip round for her at the Labour Club. She has a lot of fans down there. He thinks they’ll easily raise enough to get a decent painting of her to go in the refurbished bar.

Mum and Gran are going to get the train to London tomorrow to lay some flowers outside Buckingham Palace. Dad said he hopes she’s going to put some clothes on before she goes but Gran said she intends to show her patriotism, so she’s going in her bloomers. Mum said she ought to wear a mac at least, just in case it rains.

I’m worried about money now, Emma. I got paid £300 cash in hand for judging that wet t shirt competition in Norks night club last Saturday and it might not be worth anything now she’s gone. I wonder if they’ll have an exchange scheme to swap the old coins and banknotes for ones with King Charles’s face on them when they’re minted?

It’s going to be really weird for Charles, isn’t it, Em? I mean, he’s going to have to stand at public events singing God Save The Queen even though he’s the King. I think they might bring out a new anthem for him to save him having to do that. I hope they make it something a bit livelier. Maybe they could get Ed Sheeran to write a new tune, he’d soon knock up a jolly ditty. I hope they don’t ask Adele; her songs are more dirge-like than our old anthem.

Right, I’m off now, Emma. I’m going to start a campaign to see if we can get our street renamed to Queen Elizabeth Way.

R.I.P. Little Lizzie. Thank you for everything you did for us.

Tracy. Sad.