My tribute in Parliament
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This has been a tremendously difficult week for our country.
I was honoured to lay flowers at Buckingham Palace in memory of Her late Majesty The Queen on behalf of the people of the Scottish Borders. I also had the opportunity to pay tribute to Her Majesty's life of service in the House of Commons on Friday.
You can read my speech below, or watch it by clicking on the link.
Click the image above to watch my tribute to Her Majesty The Queen in Parliament.
John Lamont MP, speech during Tributes to HM The Queen, 9th September 2022
I, too, want to reflect on the immense loss that we in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth have sustained with the passing of Her late Majesty the Queen. Like every other Member of this House, I can say with pride that the Queen knew well my constituency, in the Scottish Borders; she visited it many times in her seven decades of service as our sovereign.
I treasure memories of two of Her late Majesty’s most recent visits to the Scottish Borders. In 2009, she came to the seaside town of Eyemouth in Berwickshire, and on 9 September 2015, seven years ago today, she opened the Borders railway. That was the day on which she became the longest-serving monarch in our history. On both of those days, the crowds were large—probably much larger than the organisers expected. I remember the enormous anticipation steadily building as the time for her arrival approached. There were local residents there of all ages and backgrounds. A thrill of excitement, like an electric pulse, ran through the crowd when they saw Her late Majesty. There was joy, disbelief and awe at seeing a global icon—the face on every coin and stamp—in the flesh; she was a smiling and radiant lady, here to visit them in their community. Those memories will last a lifetime.
As a Member of the Scottish Parliament for a decade, I had the privilege of meeting Her late Majesty in more informal settings. After each election, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh would host a reception at the Palace of Holyroodhouse for the newly elected MSPs. As they moved around the room, the Queen clockwise and the Duke of Edinburgh anti-clockwise, there was a real sense of anticipation—the same as we experienced when she visited the Borders. It was amusing to see how some of my new MSP colleagues, who may not have been the most instinctive royalists, were suddenly reduced to a bag of nerves, but as the Queen joined our group, we were all immediately put at ease by her twinkly eyes and warmth. After brief pleasantries, she launched into detailed and informed questions about our respective constituencies. Given that there were 129 MSPs plus various other guests, the fact that she was able to remember such detailed knowledge was quite remarkable, but this was her kingdom and had been
for longer than most of us had been alive.
The Queen was always fully prepared for whatever her duty demanded of her. She never spared herself, as we saw this week, when she fulfilled her last act of service: appointing my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. In good times and bad, we have always looked to the Queen for guidance and leadership, and were never left wanting. Her life spanned the end of the British empire and the start of the age of the internet. Few of us can remember a time without the Queen on the throne.
Our great nation is feeling tremendous pain at the loss of our beloved Queen. As we come to terms with that loss, let us give thanks that it was our good fortune to have her reign over us, happily and gloriously, for so long; and let us give our sympathy and support to His Majesty the King. In years to come, those children who waved flags in the Scottish Borders will tell their grandchildren of the day the Queen came to town. Each of them, each of us here and all our constituents will forever be able to say with pride, “We are Elizabethans.”
God save the King.
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