Minister Angus Martin Fair’s recollections of Balmoral’s conversation with the Queen

The Queen described her platinum jubilee sketch with Paddington Bear as “rather amusing” in a poignant conversation with a minister Angus days before her death.

Arbroath St Andrew’s minister, the Very Reverend Dr Martin Fair, revealed the monarch’s humor and brilliant wit during his stay at the royal retreat in Aberdeenshire.

And he spoke of the ‘enormous privilege’ of spending time with Her Majesty shortly before her death on September 8.

The Very Reverend Martin Fair at St Andrew’s, Arbroath.

Dr Fair described the Queen as a ‘servant’ woman before addressing her at a memorial service at the Kelpies on Sunday evening.

And he said he was confident from his time with her at Balmoral she knew how loved and respected she was across Scotland.

beaming smile

Dr Fair, who was moderator of the Church of Scotland at the height of the pandemic, said a mention of the now famous clip of Her Majesty and the cartoon bear brought a beaming smile to her face.

The clip with the clumsy Peruvian bear was filmed inside Buckingham Palace.

The Queen offers Paddington her usual good-natured hospitality and pulls a marmalade sandwich from her purse.

It has been viewed more than 11 million times on the Royal Family’s YouTube channel.

Dr Fair said it was surreal to think that three weeks ago he was sitting next to the Queen having dinner at Balmoral Castle.

“It was a huge privilege to have spent time with her and to find her in such good spirits, bright and lively was a joy,” he said.

“We discussed all sorts of things, from the Scottish Highlands to our respective dogs, to the cost of living crisis and its Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

“I asked her what her favorite part was and she said, the flag parade.

“I replied, ‘Madam, if I may be so bold as to say that for me and many others the highlight was the little tea party you shared with Paddington Bear.

“Her face lit up with the most beaming smile you could imagine and she said, ‘That was kind of fun, wasn’t it?

An artist’s tribute inspired by the music video has become the symbol of many tributes to Her Majesty.

Sketch of Queen Paddington's Bear
Artist Eleanor Tomlinson’s sketch of the Queen and Paddington features on many tributes to the Queen. Picture: Maureen McLean/Alamy Live News

“Looking back on that night, I’m so glad she was in such good shape – smiling, laughing and enjoying the retelling of special memories.”

love and respect

He told the Queen he hoped she knew how respected and loved she was across Scotland?

“The Queen paused for a moment and then replied, ‘Maybe you’re right, after all, we’ve been here for quite a while.’

“But she had a calm, sweet smile at the time.

“I think she knew what I was saying and she knew how much she was loved.

“I also assured her that believers across the country were supporting her in prayer and she replied ‘that’s very kind’.”

Kelpies Remembrance Service

There will be 96 lanterns – one for each year of the Queen’s life – floating on the Queen Elizabeth II Canal at the Kelpies.

Dr Fair said the famous equine sculptures were a fitting venue for the memorial event.

“In a very short time, the Kelpies have established themselves as one of the iconic sites of modern Scotland.

Kelpie Queen
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the Kelpies in 2017. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

“I can hardly think of a better location for this service, not least because the canal is named after Queen Elizabeth and she visited a few years ago with the Duke of Edinburgh.”

The service takes place on the eve of Her Majesty’s State Funeral at Westminster Abbey in London.

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[Angus minister Martin Fair’s memories of Balmoral chat with the Queen]