I designed my setup with an airspace in the outer "cover" as winter insulation, and partially close off my screen bottom board for winter with a board with a few holes drilled to provide airflow (I have top entrances for varmint protection). as I understand from local beeks the real worry in a healthy hive is condensation not sheer cold (as long as the hives are reasonably well sheltered that is). I was encouraged that I found no signs of condensation on the inside of the hive, so that's a +1 for my setup!
as far as the queen, I never actually SAW her (I still have trouble finding unmarked queens) but there were hatched queen cells, new capped brood, and the hive settled back down again and stopped stinging me when I inspected! So I assumed that she was there, mated, and laying well. I also found her dead in the center of the small cluster of dead bees (very sad I was too :'( )
Because I didn't have a second hive to compare with, I'm not sure if there were as many bees as there should have been going into winter. It seemed like a lot to me, but what do I know, this is my first year beekeeping! Looking back, I think that they would have needed more stores going into winter regardless, they still had three of 20 frames unfilled, so, 10 frames of brood, with some honey, and seven frames of honey. the dead hive has a frame and a half of honey left, plus most of the honey stored around the brood.
It didn't help that I had a new baby and didn't get the final fall inspections in that I wanted to either. It probalby wasn't my best decision to start beekeeping in the same summer that I was having a new baby, but I didn't want to wait a whole year either! :-P Live and learn??