Aberdeen’s oil and gas chaplain has paid a poignant tribute to the Queen, reflecting on his own time serving Her Majesty and her care for those working offshore.
In a video tribute, Reverend Gordon Craig recalled how the Queen and the Royal Family “quizzed” him on how families were being supported following the 2013 Super Puma crash off Sumburgh, reflecting her concerns in the wake of the tragedy.
The helicopter crash claimed the lives of four people, and Reverend Craig met the Queen in Balmoral the following week.
“In 2013 I was invited to Balmoral for the weekend and asked to conduct the service at Crathie Kirk.
“This was the week following the Puma coming down off Sumburgh, an accident that took the lives of four workers coming home from offshore.
“She, and indeed all members of the Royal Family, were extremely well informed about the accident, and I was quizzed very deeply about how the families were being supported.
“There was a genuine concern expressed, and she truly cared.”
Reverend Craig’s tribute, recorded at the Oil Chapel in Aberdeen’s St Nicholas Kirk, noted that Her Majesty has been a “constant in our lives”.
Thousands of people paid their respects to the Queen’s cortege as it passed through Aberdeen to Edinburgh over the weekend on Her Majesty’s final journey through Scotland.
Reverend Craig said, around the point he stopped to pay respects between Perth and Dundee, people spoke about how the occasion has impacted them “far more” than they expected.
Her death has “perhaps reawakened feelings of loss we thought had gone”, he said, or “caused us to remember loved ones no longer with us, as they, too, lived under the reign of Queen Elizabeth and these feelings are quite natural”.
Reverend Craig also spoke of the honour at being named one of the Queen’s chaplains 13 years ago and the privilege of meeting Her Majesty on occassions through his career.
“When I was appointed I thought it was an honour but, as there were quite a few chaplains to the Queen, that was about all it was.
“But I soon found out how wrong I was.
“Chaplains to the Queen wear a red cassock as a kind of uniform to identify them, and I discovered when I conducted funerals or weddings many people asked me to wear this as a sign of my status as chaplain to the Queen.
“And at funerals, people seemed to derive comfort that the service was being conducted by someone who had a connection to the Queen.
“For them, it was as if the Queen herself had graced the funeral. She was able, from afar, to provide solace.
“And this was something that only the Queen, given all she represented, could do.”
The Queen’s coffin currently lies at Buckingham Palace ahead of a procession to Westminster Hall later.
Her Majesty’s funeral will be held on Monday 19 September – a bank holiday.