Lord Speaker tribute to Queen Elizabeth II: ‘She became part of our families’
In 1953, only one family owned a TV on our street. On the morning of Her late Majesty’s coronation, we gathered at their house and huddled around the hazy black-and-white set to witness the celebrations and pageantry.
We all eagerly watched as a young Queen took on the greatest responsibility that exists, to lead a nation. I remember as a young boy being fascinated by the mystique of it all, and the great excitement at the sense of being part of something bigger. Little did I know that she would remain a feature of my life for as many as 70 years.
This has been a strong theme among the millions of tributes flooding in from all over the world: Her late Majesty’s steadfastness, and her constant presence in all our lives. Issues are increasingly divisive in our modern world, and there is a lack of understanding between us as we debate them. It is rare to find something that binds us all together as strongly as our impartial Head of State. That’s why the pain of her loss is felt so profoundly across the country.
She was unfussy, despite her status as the most famous woman in the world
I find it comforting to know that she spent her final days in a place she cherished so much, the Balmoral Estate in Aberdeenshire. Scotland, my home, has always been a place where much needed periods of peace were enjoyed by Her Majesty and her family.
Her Majesty loved Scotland deeply and Scotland loved her back. People living around and visiting Balmoral would recount stories of bumping into none other than the Queen herself, and often Prince Philip, driving around the estate in her trusty Land Rover. That shows a lot about her character. She was unfussy, despite her status as the most famous woman in the world.
I also greatly admired her thoroughly modern approach to communications. She thrived in the television and radio era from the very outset of her reign, and did more than any other monarch to open up the Royal Family to embrace outside world. She led broadcasts which comforted children during the Second World War, shared her warm and thoughtful Christmas messages every year, and relayed comforting messages during the recent Covid pandemic. Rather than a far-off figure, she became part of our own families.
My grandchildren were very upset on hearing the news of her passing. But smiles soon returned to their faces as they remembered the time when she hosted Paddington Bear to tea. Anyone who is kind to Paddington Bear is a lifelong friend of theirs! It is gestures like that that made her the grandmother – indeed a great-grandmother – to the whole nation.
Her relationship with the House of Lords represents a unique and important part of our constitutional arrangements. The presence of the throne in our Chamber serves as a constant reminder of the fine balance between the different elements of our British political system, and the crucial role she played in holding it together.
Her integrity, unique record of public service, deep sense of faith and commitment to her role ensure that she will be regarded as the supreme example of a constitutional monarch.
I speak for every member of the House of Lords when I say that our support is with His Majesty the King and his family. We now devote ourselves to his service as we did for Her late Majesty, working with him to best serve the interests of the country.
Lord Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith.
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