Queen was 'the life and soul of things', says Church leader who met her days before death

The Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the Church of Scotland General Assembly(Photo: Church of Scotland)

The Queen was "the life and soul of things" and "full of fun", says a Church leader who spent time with her just days before she passed away.

The Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the Church of Scotland General Assembly, was a guest of the Queen at her Scottish Estate last weekend where they shared a "lively conversation". 

He delivered the sermon during the Sunday service at Braemar and Crathie Parish Church, the local church regularly attended by the Queen during her summer stays at Balmoral. 

Dr Greenshields, 68, was a guest at dinner with the Queen, King Charles III and Princess Anne on Saturday evening and again at lunch on Sunday.

She died days later on Thursday at the age of 96.

The Moderator said news of her death had come as a "great shock" to him because she had been in "amazingly good form" over the weekend. 

He was especially impressed with her "amazing" ability to recall places, names, people and horses going back decades.

During their conversation, she shared memories of her times at Balmoral but also took an interest in the Moderator, asking about his ministry and his family.

He described her as "a happy person" who was "very gracious".

"It was a fantastic visit. Her memory was absolutely amazing and she was really full of fun," Dr Greenshields said.

"She was the life and soul of things. She was speaking very personally to me about her time there way back when she was a child, she was talking about her horses from the past, naming them from 40 years ago, people's names and places. She was quite remarkable.

"She talked about her memories of Balmoral as a child, her father the King and the Church of Scotland, which she had a very fond affection for.

"It was a very engaging and thoroughly enjoyable experience."

The Church of Scotland has produced a set of hymns, prayers and special worship materials to help churches mark the Queen's passing. 

Paying tribute to her faith and service, Dr Greenshields added, "She has been the steady constant in the life of our nation for over seven decades and most of us will have grown up knowing only her as our monarch.

"Tireless in her duty, the Queen has demonstrated a life of selfless dedication.

"Her love for her family was mirrored in her love for our nation and the wider Commonwealth."