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Humble Address: thanks for Queen’s unstinting, and prayerful support

27 May 2022


Yeoman of the Guard walk among the seats in the House of Lords Chamber, before the State Opening of Parliament earlier this month

Yeoman of the Guard walk among the seats in the House of Lords Chamber, before the State Opening of Parliament earlier this month

THE Queen was already “Elizabeth the Great”, the Prime Minister told Parliament on 26 May. Boris Johnson was speaking after proposing that a Humble Address be debated in the House of Commons on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee. An identical motion was moved in the House of Lords by the Lord Privy Seal, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park.

After moving the motion, Mr Johnson reflected: “When Barack Obama was asked, at the end of his time as president, which world leader had impressed him most, he paused and his mind doubtless ran through the gallery of contemporary figures. And he said, ‘Queen Elizabeth’, and I believe he was right.

“That is why next week the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth will be unabashed in celebrating not the institution of the Crown, but to the individual who wears it. This remarkable woman, who by God and her right has led her country through good times and bad . . . who has dedicated her life to her people, to her beloved Commonwealth, to the very idea of what a constitutional monarchy can and should be.”

Referring to the weekly conversation between monarch and Prime Minister, he said: “I bet I speak for every Prime Minister who has ever had an audience with Her Majesty when I say that our conversations are always immensely comforting, because she has seen the sweep of it, she seen the cycle from gloom to elation. . . For me, she is already Elizabeth the Great.”

The Lords Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith, described the Queen’s “loyal and steadfast presence” as a constant feature of British life that “helps bind us together in an increasingly polarised world. Throughout the magnificence of her reign, Her Majesty has been the supreme example of integrity in public life, and she continues to show unwavering duty and devotion.”

The Queen’s leadership, he said, and that of the late Prince Philip, with his Duke of Edinburgh award, had inspired thousands of young people in particular to develop their skills and to work to improve society and the environment. “Awards and initiatives led by them have seen millions of people develop, grow, and perform outstanding achievements in the service of their communities.”

The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart, speaking on behalf of the Lords Spiritual, said: “From these Benches, we reflect particularly on the solemnity of the Coronation, and the setting of the constitutional roles of the sovereign in the wider realm of faith.”

The Queen’s faith had been evident in her “consistent, unstinting, and prayerful support, not only for the Church of England as Supreme Governor, but for the Church of Scotland and people of Christian faith across the United Kingdom and the world.”

Her lifelong practice of public worship and private prayer has been remarkable to witness, he said, “not just in the much publicised Royal Maundy services and other great occasions in cathedrals and abbeys, but, week by week, in St George’s Chapel, Windsor; St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham; or Craithie Church, on Deeside.

“Those who have had opportunity to preach at such services are grateful not only for the hospitality that surrounds them, but for the much-missed, stimulating theological discussion with the late Prince Philip.”

The Bishop went on to reflect: “The connection between our Sovereign, who practises her faith, and the national Church is appreciated — perhaps surprisingly — especially in the interfaith communities of my own city region. Not least at times of local strife or international discord, I have found time and again people gaining reassurance and inspiration from a constitution and a sovereign that take faith and the virtues and values that spring from it seriously.”

The Bishop noted the Queen’s Christmas broadcasts, with particular reference to the Christmas message of 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, “when she combined Jesus, the Light of the World — and, she was prepared to say, her own inner light — with recognition of the many faith festivals that we enjoy in this country and those Covid volunteers across the Commonwealth.”

He concluded: “Our nation, and many countries in the world, have been blessed beyond measure by the faithful and continuing reign of Elizabeth II. She upholds the virtues of dignity of the constitution, responsibility of duty to others, and a trusted relationship with her people, all undergirded by faith. Thanks be to Her Majesty. Thanks be to God.”

In accordance with tradition, the Address will be presented to the Queen by the Lord Chamberlain.

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