Tomorrow, as we lay Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to rest and express our immense gratitude for her dedication and service, marks the end of an era of immense transition.

Her death at the age of 96 removes one of our last direct connections with those who actively served in the Second World War, and she took to the throne in 1952 when Britain was still in a war-frame of mind. Her passing means that that era of Winston Churchill and Vera Lynn is now consigned to the history books.

Her values were, essentially, from that previous wartime era: of selfless sacrifice, damned hard work and single-minded dedication to duty. People were prepared to accept privations in the hope that the country could pull through and everyone would find a better place. Today’s values, where we demand 24/7 delivery of everything to our doorstep, are very different.

But the old era’s values were not perfect. As a woman in a high place, Her Majesty was a pioneer. She, quietly, proved that women could do anything and that has led to the Britain of today with its third female Prime Minister and a team of champion women footballers.

Her Majesty has steered the monarchy from the age of unquestioning wartime deference to the modern era of 24/7 accessibility through social media. In the 1990s, it seemed that transition could not be made but this week’s scenes from Aberdeen to London show a country surprisingly united behind its royal family.

There will be sadness and tears  particularly for those closest to her, as there is always a profound solemnity at the end of a life well lived. There will principally, though, be an outpouring of great respect and admiration for this extraordinary public servant who helped steer the nation through those times of change.

Tomorrow, we say thank-you, ma’am, for everything.