Tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth
My Lords, what else is there to say after so many heartfelt, excellent and eloquent tributes both in this Chamber and beyond? Our late Queen upon her passing, as ever in life, brings out the best in us, inspiring us to be our better selves and to fulfil our duty, despite the turbulence around us. Her departing has stopped time as we mark the end of an era, and united the world as leaders around it pay their respects whether friend or foe. We will never see anyone like her again, and we will miss her desperately.
Many have remarked at how important her faith was in all she did. As a follower of Jesus myself, I would go further and say she was a steadfast believer. Not just because she would go to services, or indeed because she was the Head of our established church, but because she genuinely believed in Christ – in the promise of eternal life for those who put their hope in Him, and in His Lordship – Christ at whose feet it has been said she longed to cast her crown when they finally meet. Because He died for her, for us, laying down His life as a servant king for us, forgiving us our sins, so too she felt she could devote her life to serving us, as a servant Queen, bringing reconciliation where it was needed. She knew that even if she might not be able to change things directly, constrained by the Constitution and by a watching media, God could intervene divinely, just as He did for her ancestor Queen Victoria. Their and their heirs’ prayers have truly protected these Isles, I believe, miraculously – from invasion, from collapse, and from whatever crises we have faced. We would do well to follow their example, crying out to our Lord to heal this land and meet us in our time of need.
As someone from Chinese and the one of the few peers of East Asian descent in this Chamber, I also want to pay tribute to our Great Queen for being such a friend to those of us originally from those parts. From Hong Kong to Tokyo, she graced many countries with her presence, meeting ordinary people and leaders, many of whom she also met back in Britain over the years. I only met her once myself briefly at an event, though it made the deepest impression on me. Even in China, she was recently praised in the news as someone who they admired for her “unwavering loyalty to her country and her Faith”. And South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said admiringly of her this week “She had a strong belief in the cause of human freedom and left great legacies of dignity. Her kind heart and good deeds will remain in our memories.” Kindness, duty, faith, family, working hard – values admired by many in Asia and which our Queen, often silently and without fanfare, displayed, making her the best ambassador and diplomat we could have hoped for across these last two tumultuous centuries.
Indeed the Queen has been in her long life a sure and steady bridge from our past into the future, an anchor to our past that wasn’t afraid to travel into the future. As we head into Winter, she would have wanted us to be courageous, to be in her own words a people of hope who help others, neither forgetting our past nor being unwilling to face whatever the future brings, changing not for change’s sake but for the good of the nation and for the preservation of all that is good about Britain. Ma’am, thank you, for everything. And God save the King!