IT was 2012 when I first met the Queen, it was her Diamond Jubilee and a group of injured military personnel and British rowers had the honour of leading the pageant on the River Thames in the Gloriana. And as we rowed past the royal barge to present a royal salute on a wet London day I remember thinking this is a long way from Aviemore.

The Queen had stood the whole day as thounsands of boats rowed past, and, in typical

UK weather, her qualities shown through. It was also in 2012 that we got an insight into her personality as she starred alongside James Bond as part of the Olympic opening

ceremony, and she also opened the London 2012 Paralympics, which went on to be one of the most successful Paralympics in history.

Her Majesty loved her sport, and one of her quotes I feel aligns perfectly with paralympic sport, “When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future”.

I, like everyone, will always remember where I was on September 8, 2022. Sitting

in France, it was the waitress in the restaurant who

delivered the news that the Queen had died.

The atmosphere changing to one of mourning, it felt like the planned bike ride should somehow be put on hold.

However, my relationship to the Royal Family and the Queen was built through sport. It was sport that took me to Buckingham Palace for events, dinners and to speak at the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards. It was also sport that saw me receive my MBE from the now King Charles III.

As I sit in my hotel room watching the news, I feel that maybe in a small way of me paying my respect is to ride and reflect on how fortunate I was to have met Her Majesty the Queen.

It was an honour, to talk to her and to shake her hand on several occasions. I remember her laughing and joking with me about winning at Eton

Dorney. Those moments now feel different, it is moving to see so many athletes sharing their photos of the times they had met her, I know the news of her passing will be felt throughout the sporting world.

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, had an incredible presence any time I was privileged enough to share a room with her. The resilience to continue public duties into her 90s – even on the day before she died, she was working – is a source of great inspiration.

The only monarch most of us will remember was always engaged in those post-sporting events at the palace. It used to amaze me how much strength and energy she had to stand for hours and hours.

Each of us will have our own memories, stories and reflections on the Queen. For me, she was an incredible person who had a tremendous amount of fortitude.

In 2013, it was during an overnight stay at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and a breakfast with the Queen’s representative that I saw first hand her love for Scotland.

It’s hard to imagine a world without the Queen, it’s all many of us have known. She has been a constant in a very troubled world at times.

She will be dearly missed and in the future I know we will all share our own stories to those who didn’t live during her life.