Clergyman Recalls How Queen Elizabeth Was 'Full of Fun' Days Before Her Death

·3 min read
Queen Elizabeth II attends the QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse on October 21, 2017 in Ascot, England.
Queen Elizabeth II attends the QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse on October 21, 2017 in Ascot, England.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Ascot

Queen Elizabeth was in good spirits just days before her death, says a clergyman who recently visited her.

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Iain Greenshields, a guest of the Queen's at Balmoral Castle last weekend, says despite her frail appearance, she was the "life and soul of things," during their recent time together.

The Scottish clergyman, the current moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, had been invited to perform a sermon at Braemar and Crathie Parish Church, where the Queen worshipped during her time in Scotland. He had been invited to dinner with the monarch on Saturday night and enjoyed lunch with her, Prince Charles (now King Charles) and Princess Anne on Sunday afternoon.

"It was a fantastic visit," he told The Times. "Her memory was absolutely amazing and she was really fun of fun. It came as a great shock to me when I heard she was gravely ill because she was in amazingly good form over the weekend."

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Edinburgh, UK. 25th May, 2022. Edinburgh, Scotland Wednesday May 25th 2022: General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2022: Moderator Rev Iain Greenshields addresses the General Assembly at start of the day
Edinburgh, UK. 25th May, 2022. Edinburgh, Scotland Wednesday May 25th 2022: General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2022: Moderator Rev Iain Greenshields addresses the General Assembly at start of the day

Andrew O'Brien/Alamy The Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields

The Queen died "peacefully" at age 96 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Thursday afternoon, just two days after her final engagement, appointing the new prime minister Liz Truss. On Tuesday, the final picture of her at that meeting showed her smiling in front of an open fire in the Drawing Room, standing with the aid of her walking stick.

"She was the life and soul of things," continued Greenshields, who has previously spent time with the Queen. "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."

"For someone of her age, to have the memory she had, and genuinely laughing and very much enjoying having her family and the whole occasion. She was great company. She couldn't come to the sermon because of her mobility, so Charles came instead," he added.

Queen Elizabeth II waits in the Drawing Room before receiving newly elected leader of the Conservative party Liz Truss at Balmoral Castle for an audience where she will be invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government on September 6, 2022 in Aberdeen, Scotland. The Queen broke with the tradition of meeting the new prime minister and Buckingham Palace, after needing to remain at Balmoral Castle due to mobility issues
Queen Elizabeth II waits in the Drawing Room before receiving newly elected leader of the Conservative party Liz Truss at Balmoral Castle for an audience where she will be invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government on September 6, 2022 in Aberdeen, Scotland. The Queen broke with the tradition of meeting the new prime minister and Buckingham Palace, after needing to remain at Balmoral Castle due to mobility issues

Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 6, 2022 at Balmoral Castle

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Aside from talking about church affairs, the couple spoke about the war in Ukraine and according to BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland Programme, the clergyman said she spoke about her love for her family. "She was talking about her past, her love for Balmoral, her father, her mother, Prince Philip, horses, very much engaged with what was happening in the church and what was happening in the nation too."

A general view of Balmoral Castle, which is one of the residences of the Royal family, and where Queen Elizabeth II traditionally spends the summer months.
A general view of Balmoral Castle, which is one of the residences of the Royal family, and where Queen Elizabeth II traditionally spends the summer months.

Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Balmoral Castle

He did, however, note that her appearance seemed less than sturdy.

"This frail lady came in, but there was still that sense of who she was and that real sense of making you feel immediately at ease, engaging with you immediately in conversation, a nice bright smile, everything you would expect of your monarch," the clergyman said.

Balmoral has long been a favorite residence for the Queen. For 150 years, the Scottish castle has served as a private retreat for the British royals and where the Queen traditionally spent every summer from July through to October. She was not only visited by members of her family during those months, but she often hosted friends for picnics, barbecues, dinners and shooting parties as well as two Highland Ghillies' Balls.