Christine Jardine: The Queen shared our thoughts, our memories and our pain

Our parliamentarians paid tribute to The Queen in debates held last weekend. Here is Christine Jardine’s speech:

The text, from Hansard, is below:

It is with a very sad sense of pride that I rise to speak on behalf of my constituents in Edinburgh West, many of whom have already visited the Palace of Holyroodhouse to lay flowers and pay their respects to Her Majesty in Edinburgh, a city she loved. She was at one of my very first events as an MP when she opened our magnificent Queensferry crossing. Most recently, she was celebrated at jubilee parties across the city.

I confess that my first thought when I heard the confirmation on Thursday that we had lost the Queen was of family—first, her family of course, but then my own family. When, as a child, I went to my first sighting of the Queen at the launch of a ship on Clydeside, I remember my grandmother telling me how wonderful the Queen was. She tried to explain to me about the war, the spirit and what the family had meant, and I thought I understood what she was saying. I thought I got it, until the night in 2020 when the Queen spoke to us at the darkest moment of the pandemic. She gave us hope; she told us we would meet again. It was not just that she empathised with our situation, but that she shared it.

I realise now that perhaps the reason why the Queen held such a special place in our hearts was that she shared our memories, our thoughts and our pain. She was also a link back to the loved ones we have lost, in that she had shared in the difficult times that they went through. Today, the speeches, reminiscences and memories we have heard in this place have all been very moving. They have all had a touch of gratitude and thankfulness for the fact that we have been part of those 70 years of her reign, and a heartbreaking recognition that that era has come to an end.

I think Her late Majesty would have been extremely proud to see our new King devote himself to the service of this country in the way that she did. While we might find this parting very sorrowful, and indeed heartbreaking, we now know that there is a future. Although our country will change—we will not have the constant figure we have had for 70 years—the transition will be smooth, there will be a future and it will be good. While we thank Her Majesty and wish that she rest in peace, we know that our future is secure. God save the King.

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