THE LOSS of Queen Elizabeth II marks the end of the reign of our country’s most significant and iconic monarch.

Her lifetime of service to this country shows that she was more than just our Queen, but also a constant presence and source of comfort in the difficult times we have faced and an inspiration to all those who aspire to call themselves role models and leaders.

The feeling that many of us have lost a member of our family shows that she touched the lives of us in ways that many people cannot show, and that her death will leave our country remorseful for years to come.

The Queen loved Wales and loved the people of Wales.

I am always reminded of her dedication and affection to the victims and survivors of Aberfan following the disaster in 1966 that claimed so many lives. Her visit to the village showed her love and service to the people of Wales.

Seeing so many people from all sides of the political divide come together to mourn the loss of our Queen in the Senedd shows that she was a consolidating figure who was above the divisions of parties.

I had the privilege of speaking in the Chamber about how September 8 will be a day etched into all our memories and we will remember where we were when we heard the news of the death of our beloved sovereign.

The proclamation of King Charles III in Cardiff Castle brought the community together from all ages, backgrounds and beliefsto commemorate and celebrate the death of one monarch and the beginning of a new reign. This shows that the monarchy is a unifying institution that also symbolises hope and togetherness in a time when division dominates our news cycles.

Her death and the example she set throughout her entire life reminds us of how important unity is within our family of nations and we are better together as one United Kingdom.

Wales benefits from being part of this great family and our society and economy is stronger because of the Union. On behalf of all of us, I offer my sincere condolences to the King and the entire Royal Family for their loss and give thanks to the lifetime of service by Queen Elizabeth II.

God save the King.