Boris Johnson has led tributes from the UK's former Prime Ministers following the death of Queen Elizabeth on Thursday (08.09.22).
The ex Conservative leader met with the Queen at her Balmoral estate in Scotland on Tuesday (06.09.22) to hand in his resignation just days before her death on Thursday (08.09.22) aged 96 - and he released a poignant statement marking the country's "saddest day" in the aftermath of her passing.
Johnson wrote: "This is our country's saddest day. In the hearts of every one of us there is an ache at the passing of our Queen, a deep and personal sense of loss - far more intense, perhaps, than we expected.
"In these first grim moments since the news, I know that millions and millions of people have been pausing whatever they have been doing, to think about Queen Elizabeth, about the bright and shining light that has finally gone out.
"She seemed so timeless and so wonderful that I am afraid we had come to believe, like children, that she would just go on and on."
Johnson went on: "Wave after wave of grief is rolling across the world, from Balmoral - where our thoughts are with all the Royal Family - and breaking far beyond this country and throughout that great Commonwealth of nations that she so cherished and which cherished her in return.
"As is so natural with human beings, it is only when we face the reality of our loss that we truly understand what has gone. It is only really now that we grasp how much she meant for us, how much she did for us, how much she loved us."
His statement ended with a respectful nod to the new King Charles, with the former Prime Minister writing: "Though our voices may be choked with sadness we can say with confidence words not heard in this country for more than seven decades. God save the King".
The words from Johnson - who was replaced as Conservative Party leader and UK Prime Minister by Liz Truss this week - were followed by a statement from his predecessor Theresa May who posted a statement on Twitter.
May wrote: "Her Majesty witnessed tremendous change, moving adroitly with the times but always providing stability and reassurance. She was our constant throughout this great Elizabethan era ...
"It was the honour of my life to serve her as prime minister. ... Our thoughts and prayers now are with her family. God Save The King."
Sir Tony Blair - who served as Prime Minister from 1997 until 2007 - paid tribute to the "matriarch of our nation" and credited the queen with bringing the country together.
He said: "We have lost not just our monarch but the matriarch of our nation, the figure who more than any other brought our country together, kept us in touch with our better nature, personified everything which makes us proud to be British."
Blair went on: "She was not only respected but loved. Respected because of the qualities of duty, decency, integrity and fidelity which she embodied. And loved because of the love and affection she bestowed on us."
He concluded statement writing: "Her reign was indeed glorious. And it was our great good fortune to have had her reign over us. Together with my wife Cherie, I send my deepest condolences to King Charles and all the Royal Family."
Gordon Brown - who took over from Blair as Prime Minister - added his own words in memory of the queen calling her a "compassionate, dedicated, wonderful public servant".
He added: "Nobody will ever forget the contribution she made to our country. She was a peacemaker, she brought people together, she listened to people."
David Cameron served as PM from 2010 until 2016 and he remembered the queen as a tireless public servant.
In his statement, he wrote: "There can simply be no finer example of dignified public duty and unstinting service, and we all owe our sincere gratitude for her continued devotion, living every day by the pledge she made on her 21st birthday. Her dedication to our country has been incomparable and, as such, she leaves an enduring legacy."
Cameron added: "My thoughts and prayers are with the King and the royal family at this time of great sadness. "The country has lost a devoted public servant; and the royal family has lost a much-loved mother, grandmother and great grandmother."
There was also a tribute from Sir John Major, who led the UK between 1990 and 1997, who pointed out the queen's extraordinary "depth of knowledge".
He told the BBC: "I think people would have been extraordinarily surprised if they realised the depth of information the Queen had about the lives of people in every conceivable part of the United Kingdom. She was always extraordinarily well briefed.
"And on foreign affairs, she would always say if there was a difficulty of a foreign leader, 'Well I met him many years ago' or 'I knew his father'. There was always a wise word to be had. And those meetings with the queen were always the better part of a prime minister's week."
The UK's current Prime Minister Liz Truss met with the queen at Balmoral to be sworn in just days before her death and she read a statement outside Downing Street in London shortly after news of the monarch's passing was announced calling her "the rock on which modern Britain was built".
Truss became the 15th prime minister to be sworn in by the queen during her reign.