“We’ll meet again”. Only the Queen could have comforted the nation convincingly in the depths of the Covid lockdown by deploying that line from Vera Lynn’s Second World War torch song.

Her Majesty knew whereof she spoke. Both she and her son and heir, Prince Charles, tested positive during the pandemic. Having lived through the war as a young woman, including “conga-ing into Buckingham palace” during victory celebrations, Her Majesty has profound experience of the emotions stirred by national crisis.

There was also a unique personal aspect to her words because, on the form of her seventy years on the throne, they may well be true. Queen Elizabeth II has met, or been seen in the flesh, by more people on these islands than anyone else. In recent years age and Covid have slowed down her Majesty’s meet-and-greet rate but it is still estimated that she has encountered about one in three of us in person.