We knew the words would be uttered one day, but it was still a shock to hear them. The Queen is dead.
Of course, we knew the moment was coming. When a photograph was released on Tuesday showing the monarch welcoming her newest prime minister – her 15th – at Balmoral, her face looked unfamiliarly gaunt. The Queen was in her 90s and we are all mortal, even those whose blood flows deepest blue. And yet the announcement that she had died on Thursday afternoon will shake this country very deeply, for reasons we may not fully grasp.