The Queen’s 90th birthday is a time for nostalgia and for reflection on her remarkable life, dominated by her long and successful reign.
But her birthday is also a time for personal nostalgia – for thinking back to how our own lives have unfolded while the Queen has been a constant presence.
For some of us, the monarch’s milestone is also a chance to remember a special moment when our lives intersected with that of the Queen.
Many people from this area have memories of the time they met her, often because of their naval links.
There may even be some who remember, as we do on Page 32 today, her first visit to Portsmouth in 1937.
They recall a woman with a gift for putting people at their ease and for making them feel special no matter what the occasion.
Even republicans who have met Her Majesty have had to admit she has unique qualities, and it is these qualities that have made her so close to the hearts of the people of this country.
Queen Elizabeth II reigns over a very different Britain to the one into which she was born in 1926.
Thanks to the advances in healthcare and our general standard of living, there are many more people of her own age leading, like her, active and rewarding lives. This is also a time of rapid and sometimes troubling change, yet she has remained consistent and steadfast.
Part of her skill has been in retaining her mystique – a quality that the royal family has learnt, after several unhappy episodes, is best preserved.
After so long on the throne she has acquired a depth of experience and wisdom that is valued by politicians and she is quite right to insist that she will never abdicate.
Meanwhile, the great majority of the public respect her as a mother who has had her own family difficulties, as well as a monarch.
She is undoubtedly, despite the challenges continually facing the royals, much loved by her people.
And we are proud to add our voice to theirs.
Happy birthday, Ma’am.