Queen Elizabeth II was “full of fun” and sharp as a whip as she carried out her royal duties to the end, a clergyman who was with the late monarch on her last weekend revealed.
“It was a fantastic visit. Her memory was absolutely amazing, and she was really full of fun,” Rev. Iain Greenshields, a Church of Scotland minister who had lunch with the Queen, Prince Charles (now King Charles III) and Princess Anne last Saturday, told The Times of London on Friday.
Greenshields said the Queen was so excited that he was completely surprised to learn that her health had deteriorated rapidly on Thursday morning.
“It came as a big shock to me when I learned that she was seriously ill as she was in incredibly good shape over the weekend,” he said. “She was the life and soul of things. She spoke to me very personally about her time there when she was a child, she talked about her horses from the past, she mentioned them 40 years ago, names and places of people. She was quite remarkable.”
The clergyman also said the Queen smiled and had an impressive memory for a 96-year-old when he visited.
“For someone her age, to have the memory she had, and to smile sincerely and really enjoy her family and the whole occasion. She was great company,” he said, noting that she couldn’t attend his sermon because of her mobility issues.
Nevertheless, Greenshields said the Queen was “wonderful” and a “very capable lady”, as she talked a lot with everyone who gathered to be with her.
“She was great around people, she gathered everyone together and talked a lot. She impressed me a lot as a very capable lady.”
Among the topics discussed between the monarch and her lunch guests were the war in Ukraine and current church affairs.
A week prior to Greenshields’ visit, Martin Fair, who has been a pastor at St Andrews Church in Arbroath, Scotland for 30 years, stayed at the Queen’s beloved Balmoral Castle and found her “bright and in a very good mood”.
“I was sad to hear the announcement about her deterioration. We were in her sitting room and dining room as part of a family gathering – it was a privilege to be a part of it,” he told The Times.
“She was absolutely excited about everything, current affairs and historical memories. She was in very good shape. It was absolutely lovely to see her smile, and there was still that part of her having fun.”
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, meanwhile, revealed that he had only met the Queen a few months ago and said she was “in sparkling shape”. Alister Jack, the Conservative MP and Secretary of State for Scotland, shared the same sentiment about a meeting in June.
The Queen died Thursday afternoon, hours after a spokesman for the royal family announced her health had deteriorated.
Her immediate relatives rushed to be by her side, although Vidak For Congress reported that grandson Prince Harry didn’t arrive in Scotland until hours after her death.
The Queen had expressed concerns for her health in the past year, having resigned several royal engagements, although she regularly resumed her duties after recovery.
Britain’s longest-reigning monarch celebrated her 96th birthday in April and her platinum anniversary in June. She also appeared with a big smile on her face when she met the new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, just two days before her death.
Her son King Charles III has since ascended the throne.