I'm not hugely fussed about the monarchy, I have to admit. I'm not hostile to the idea of a hereditary Head of State, especially as the job comes with precious little actual power. But it clearly means something to others, as demonstrated by Sunday's river pageant.
I was lucky enough to have a really good vantage point, courtesy of friends, on the elbow of a curve of the river with views from Battersea Bridge to Vauxhall Bridge, and in front of us, hundreds of people were crammed onto a narrow strip of the Thames Path, waiting for the boats to pass. And despite the rain and the cold, there was real enthusiasm, much flag waving and as much good humour.
When the Royal Barge arrived, the crowd were delighted, and it reminds me that, despite that strand of intellectualism that derides the idea of monarchy, of pomp and of circumstances, most people like the Queen, are quietly fond of her, and aren't wildly enthused by the more egalitarian alternatives to a constitutional monarchy.
It is, if you like, a reminder that we are a nation that prefers gradual change to revolution, a point which could be usefully absorbed by a few politicians I could name.
I don't know whether or not our affection will be transferred to any successor, but the monarchy remains a reassuring constant in an unstable world, and that's probably a good thing.
So, best wishes, Your Majesty and good health. You're an utter professional and you've served your nation faithfully and well...