A poignant moment for me but one amongst millions for her – this week I shook (quite gently) HRH The Queen’s gloved hand.

At the launch of a new Academy of International Relations, I stood in line; first to be inspected by Prince Philip, before the immaculate, steady grace (and not a single silver hair our of place) of her Majesty.

We exchanged no more than a few words and she was on, and gone. The intensity of her eyes, and the very clear focus within them is striking. She doesn’t say a lot, but she doesn’t miss a thing. And what things she has seen in a long and very public life.

Whatever you think of the monarchy, she is dignity and hard work personified. A time-capsule of Britain and the world’s history. And on a very ordinary grey Tuesday night in November I shook her hand – which I makes it a grey ordinary Tuesday, I will remember for the rest of my life.

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