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Retired Bonhill minister pays tribute to Queen as he recalls weekend at Balmoral

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A retired minister has recalled his special memories of the Queen after spending an extraordinary weekend with the Royal Family at Balmoral Castle.Rev Ian Miller, of Bonhill, described his experience meeting Queen Elizabeth II at her Scottish home a “privilege” after she died there on Thursday last week.

He told the Lennox Herald of some of the most memorable parts of his two-day visit, including being driven by the Queen to a barbecue on the estate and the moment he thought he had said something he shouldn’t have.

Ian was invited to stay with the royals in August 2012 to conduct a Sunday service, shortly after retiring as minister at Bonhill Parish Church after 38 years.During his two-day stay as a VIP guest, he got a rare glimpse into their lives, including being privy to conversations around the dinner table.Ian said: “Among the most memorable moments for me was seeing her amazing smile.“Hearing the news of her death did hit me because she was just a lovely person, sweet, interesting and engaging.“She was remarkable and we will not see her like again.”Describing, the moment he met her, he explained: “I remember entering the drawing room in Balmoral, which is the one seen in the photographs where she meets Liz Truss, and her smile was dazzling.“There were no cameras around and she didn’t need to greet me like that but she was extremely welcoming.“She went in and sat down at a little table with her back to me and said ‘come on, sit beside me’.“She then got out a pack of cards and started playing Patience, telling me it helped to keep her mind sharp.“We chatted away and she was interested about the Vale of Leven and we talked about the changes over the years.“She was just so engaging and was asking lots of questions.

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