Jane Dodds: She was a stateswoman like no other

Jane Dodds paid tribute to the Queen in the Senedd.

The text is below:

Diolch yn fawr iawn. On behalf of my party, the Welsh Liberal Democrats, we extend our deepest sympathies on the loss of Elizabeth II. Elizabeth II has been one of the very few constants in all our lives in the 70 years of her reign. As the world around us changed, Elizabeth II was ever-present throughout; she provided stability and certainty for many. The passing of Elizabeth II without a doubt marks the end of a very long and indeed seminal chapter in the history of our nations. Elizabeth II was a living reminder of our collective past, a constant marker of duty, courage, warmth and compassion, not just here in the UK, but globally.

Throughout her life, Elizabeth II served the country with the absolute greatest dedication, honour and dignity. Her faith was dynamic and strong. She was a woman of example to all of us women, not just here in Wales, but across the world.

I had the great privilege of meeting her only once, on the opening of the sixth Senedd here last October, and my short anecdote is indeed a farming one, like the leader of the opposition. I was introduced as the Member representing mid and west Wales, a large area of Wales, and I think I said something like, ‘We have more sheep than people in the area I represent’. Her sharp and quick response to me was, ‘Well, how do you know what their views are?’

Her address to the Commonwealth at just 21 years of age, when she said:

‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service’,42

is an ethos and principle I know we all here hold dear. And Elizabeth II’s example of public service is one that we can all aspire towards. Her address to the country during the early part of the coronavirus pandemic—that we would all meet again—shows the extent to which the Queen reflected for many the national mood. In that same vein, many will remember Elizabeth II’s visit to Aberfan in 1966, and recall her sharing in the grief felt by the people of Aberfan. As someone recounted after the disaster,

‘It felt like she was with us from the beginning.’

She was a stateswoman like no other.

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One Comment

  • A fitting tribute – thanks Jane. Reference to the Queen as a stateswoman reminded me of a short clip in yesterday’s BBC1 Laura Kuenssberg programme, when the Queen was heard saying: “It has sometimes been observed that what leaders do for their people today is government and politics but what they do for the people of tomorrow is statesmanship.” Food for thought, particularly in the context of our recent list of PMs and their track records. Perhaps also a case for a non-politician as Head of State.

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