When I left home for Westminster after the summer recess Queen Elizabeth II was our Head of State. When I returned almost two weeks later we had a new King and a world which seems turned upside down. I have asked myself why her Majesty’s passing has left me, like the rest of the country, so saddened. After all she was 96 years old and her death should not have been a shock. Yet it was. Perhaps because she had been Queen for all my life and a constant in the trials and tribulations of our modern history.
I hoped everything would be done with dignity and respect. Indeed it was and Parliament rose to the occasion as it invariably does. As Opposition Chief Whip and a Privy Councillor I was honoured to be closely involved. I was at the Accession Council, firstly acknowledging the Queen’s passing and then the accession of King Charles III, I attended the new King’s Address to both Houses and was present in Westminster Hall when Her Late Majesty’s coffin arrived to lie in state, and I was privileged to be at the State funeral.
Throughout, including the crowds paying their respects, everything possible was done to honour a woman who had dedicated her life to public service and to our country. In the coming days politics will return and the focus will be on the huge problems facing the new and last Elizabethan Prime Minister. Her Majesty’s legacy of public service and doing the right thing should be a lesson to us all.
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