As people across Staffordshire came to terms with the announcement of the death of the Queen, civic leaders have been reacting to the sad news.
County Coun Alan White, leader of Staffordshire County Council, said he was “deeply saddened” to learn the news. He said: “It is undoubtedly a sadness which will be felt across the county and the country.
“As a young woman, she took on the unexpected mantle of becoming Queen and has dedicated her life to serving the country, both here and across the Commonwealth.
“Her majesty knew Staffordshire well, visiting the county often, including to mark the official opening of i54 South Staffordshire and when she unveiled a memorial to the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment at the National Memorial Arboretum.
“As we share in this sadness today with the new King and his family, it is also a time to reflect on the huge contribution she has made to the nation and to say, ‘thank you, your majesty’.”
Ian Dudson CBE, Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, also said he was “deeply saddened” and added: “It is a sadness that will be shared by the people of Staffordshire, and we send our heartfelt condolences to the King and all the Royal Family.
“I have the utmost respect for the life of unstinting and selfless service given by our longest reigning monarch throughout the UK and the Commonwealth.
“She has been a symbol of stability and continuity and we are grateful for the many happy memories her majesty has given us during visits to this county.
“I look forward with confidence to the reign of our new King who will be a true successor in the twin roles of head of state and head of nation within our monarchy.”
County Coun Paul Snape, chair of Staffordshire County Council, said: “It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of our sovereign. It is a sadness that will be shared by her people throughout her realm, as her majesty has given unstinting and unselfish service to the people of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.
“In a changing world, her majesty has been a symbol of stability and continuity. We in Staffordshire mourn her passing while at the same time remembering with gratitude the service, she has given the nation.”
Staffordshire commissioner for police, fire and rescue and crime Ben Adams said: “This is a profoundly sad time for our nation as we mourn the death of the Queen, and I know that all of our communities will be feeling a deep sense of loss at the news.
“I join the people of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent in remembering the Queen’s lifetime of public service, and offer my most sincere condolences to all members of the Royal Family.”
The Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Rev Dr Michael Ipgrave, whose diocese includes Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, said he shared “the deep sorrow of people across the diocese” and sent condolences to all members of the Royal Family.
He said: “The Queen lived a remarkable life of faithful service and maintained strength, courage and grace as she led our country through countless changes and challenges. She has served all our communities tirelessly and lived a life the like of which we are unlikely ever to witness again.
“The Queen’s strong personal faith in Jesus Christ informed her sense of duty and her role as defender of the faith. We pray now that she finds rest and peace, assured by her faith, and for our cathedral and other churches across the diocese in the coming days and weeks as they offer a place of consolation for all those who mourn.”
Dr Ipgrave said he also prayed for the new King “that he may know comfort as he grieves his mother’s death.”
Books of condolence, in which people can formally express their sorrow following the Queen’s death on Thursday, have been opened in at least 19 locations across Staffordshire, including at Biddulph Town Hall.
Official sites for floral tributes to be laid by the public in memory of the longest-reigning monarch in the country’s history are also available. They can be left outside the town hall in Biddulph.
An online condolence book is also available to sign on the website of the British Monarchy.
A localised digital book of condolence has also been opened and Staffordshire residents have already begun expressing their sorrow.
These books will remain open to all until 5pm on 20th September, then they will be closed and preserved.