Sadness that such enduring associations will draw to a close at the end of a year that saw Her Majesty celebrate her 90th birthday; anticipation that the roles will be passed to other members of the Royal Family.
Yet the Buckingham Palace announcement does need to be placed in perspective. As younger royals embrace more of the duties undertaken by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, it should be remembered that Her Majesty will still remain patron of more than 600 organisations. Not only this, but she continues to take a keen, and active, interest in the work of the groups concerned.
It’s also a reminder about the intrinsic importance of Royal support to charities. A visit, or endorsement, can be priceless when it comes to fundraising appeals – or raising the morale of beneficiaries and volunteers alike.
And this relationship is also emblematic of the Queen’s devotion to duty which remains as unstinting today as it was in 1952 when her beloved father, King George VI, passed away. For more than 60 years, she has led by example and made a lasting contribution to the work of the charities, voluntary organisations and governing bodies that were blessed by her support.
With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge accepting more Royal responsibilities, and Prince Harry appearing to be at a loose end after leaving the Armed Forces, this appears to be an opportune time for the next stage of a subtle changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.