Mon, 5 December 2022

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By Baroness Ritchie
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LGA chairman tribute to Queen Elizabeth II: ‘Her life will be remembered for one of service, duty and devotion’

LGA chairman tribute to Queen Elizabeth II: ‘Her life will be remembered for one of service, duty and devotion’

(Central Bedfordshire Council)

3 min read

In just a few days, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be laid to rest in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, alongside her husband Prince Philip. It is truly the end of an era, and like everyone else it was with profound sadness that learned of the Queen’s death.

I wrote to King Charles III on behalf of local government to pay tribute to the commitment, selfless devotion and generosity of spirit shown by Her Majesty during her reign as monarch over the past 70 years.

As the Head of State and the longest reigning monarch in our country’s history, Her Majesty played a central role in British life, bringing the country together and shaping our values as a nation. The Queen was a champion of British values as a royal patron to more than 600 charities, many of them supporting local areas.

Moments like these bind our communities together

Her life will be remembered for one of service, duty, and devotion to communities up and down the country, the Commonwealth and beyond.

I know that over the course of her reign she visited many of our local communities all over the United Kingdom. It has been touching to see so many memories and images shared of these trips over the past few weeks. In particular, it has been moving to understand the impact these visits still have on those who were there, in some cases many years after they took place.

Councils have been proud to serve Her Majesty throughout her reign and have long played an important historic civic role at the heart of their local areas, often helping to facilitate royal events in their communities. Many councils had their own unique relationship with the Queen and the Royal Family, and no doubt will continue to do so under King Charles III.

Moments like these bind our communities together. This has been clearly demonstrated in the way that local authorities rapidly put together plans to support people in their local communities to mourn.

Councils have done what they do best: bringing people together in different ways to mark this sombre milestone. For example, councils from all over the UK organised proclamation ceremonies to announce the accession of His Majesty King Charles III shortly after the death of his beloved mother. This is a tradition that spans more than 300 years and was originally intended to inform local areas of the news of a new monarch.

Despite modern communications allowing news to be broadcast around the world in an instant, these events gave communities an opportunity to come together and reflect on an important moment in our nation’s history.

Councils have provided local books of condolence online and in public buildings, ensured flags are flown at half-mast, and provided spaces where people have been able to leave floral tributes. They are also organising “big screen” broadcasts for members of the public to watch the Queen’s funeral, so that those who cannot join the crowds in London are able to share in their grief together with friends and neighbours.

The death of Her Majesty has had a great effect on everyone in our local government family and the communities we represent. As His Majesty King Charles III begins his reign, councils will continue to serve our nation, bringing our local communities together to promote the rich and vibrant values of our nation.


 

Councillor James Jamieson is chairman of the Local Government Association.

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