Tributes in the House to the Late Queen Elizabeth II

“I spoke in during the Tributes to HM Queen Elizabeth in Parliament on Friday 9 September 2002. Here is my Speech: 

Despite her age it was a shock to all of us and sadly it falls to our generation to tell of the passing of our gracious sovereign, of the passing of a platinum Elizabethan age, of a young woman with responsibility thrust on her who without a manual wrote her own story, and in doing so wrote the story of the nation that we have all lived under.

I was in Walsall when I heard the sad news of Queen Elizabeth’s passing. I know my constituents in Walsall South are grieving. The owner of Fortune Cookie, our local Chinese takeaway, was in tears. At every school that I have ever visited the question is always asked “have you met the Queen?”. Launer, based in Walsall South, made her handbags. I hope that link will continue, especially now that we know, thanks to a refugee from Peru, that she used to keep marmalade sandwiches in them to keep her going.

Having been born in Aden to Goan parents, I had never imagined that I would meet Queen Elizabeth, and I did chatting in the House of Lords Gallery, the British Museum and when I was made a Privy Councillor.

Those who have had an audience with her can testify to her wisdom and generosity of spirit and like all of us, she knew life is a roller coaster, but she never complained and only ever mentioned one year as an “annus horribilis”.

Our Queen carried out all her duties with dignity, grace and love for us and her country, and yet she also embraced different countries and cultures through the Commonwealth, while always respecting differences. She also dealt with changes and acknowledged our past mistakes, knowing life and history moves on. 

We will miss those quiet reassuring messages to the nation, at Christmas, and at difficult times. Duty, service, defender of the faith and love for her United Kingdom – she was a constant that brought us all together.

As the bright full moon shone down last night and a rainbow over Windsor Castle, we pray for her grieving family to get thought this difficult time and especially for King Charles III. May she rest in peace.”