HAMPSHIRE Chamber’s Chief Executive and Executive Chair, Ross McNally, said: “We are all deeply saddened by the news of the Queen’s death and send our most sincere, heartfelt condolences to the Royal family.
“They are in the thoughts and prayers of everyone connected with Hampshire Chamber at this difficult time.
“The Queen has been a steadfast figurehead here and throughout the Commonwealth during all kinds of challenging political and economic crises since the early 1950s.
“You would have to be in your late seventies or older to remember a time without her reassuring presence on the throne.
“Only this week, at the age of 96, she was still performing her constitutional role, appointing the new Prime Minister and formally requesting a new government to be formed to complete the transition of power from one leader to another.
“The first British monarch to reign for 70 years and one of the most recognisable, much loved and well-known people in the world, she was at the very heart of our national life and the most exceptional ambassador the country could have wished for.
“She led a life of exemplary dedication and public service as Head of State that is truly beyond compare.
“In so doing, she has been a source of hope and inspiration while personally touching the hearts of millions of people in all walks of life and across several generations.
“This is a time for solemn mourning and an opportunity to be thankful for all she has done for the country and the Commonwealth.”