ParliamentRoyal FamilySpeeches

Alexander Stafford – 2022 Tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II

The tribute made by Alexander Stafford, the Conservative MP for Rother Valley, in the House of Commons on 9 September 2022.

This day is a day many of us wished would never come, but many of us also believed that it would never happen. I need not remind Members of Her late Majesty’s unwavering service as Britain’s longest-serving monarch; her calmness and stoicism during difficult times; and the continuity and stability she offered our country and our people. She personified the virtues of loyalty and humility, never complaining and setting a towering example for world leaders, future monarchs and ordinary people alike. Her Majesty was the embodiment of our nation’s identity, and for many people she was the United Kingdom, with her uncanny ability to appear unchanging yet also move with the times. She epitomised the concept of a constitutional monarch and took this responsibility incredibly seriously, thus cementing the role of the constitutional monarchy in this country, remaining above politics yet imparting profound wisdom to unnumerable Prime Ministers and parliamentarians over seven decades.

It was not her constitutional link to the lawmakers of this land that made her one of the greatest monarchs in our history, but her affinity with every single man, woman and child in Britain and the Commonwealth. Nowhere was this better exemplified than during her visits, for it was in places such as Rother Valley that Her Majesty excelled. Her visit to Rother Valley in 1977 was an unrivalled success. She was greeted at Maltby Comprehensive School by over 7,000 children from across Rother Valley, and on Maltby fields more than 20 schools and youth organisations put on displays. Countless Rother Valley children would cherish the memories of that visit, but my favourite story is about a 10-year-old girl from Letwell, who was dressed in a purple velvet cloak, holding a plea for the Queen printed on a cardboard sign. It read:

“Dear Queen of England, please crown me Queen of Aston Fence School. Love Allison”.

As the Queen passed by, she duly obliged. Taking the sign, Her Majesty asked Allison, “So, you want to be crowned, do you?” Then, carefully picking up the home-made crown, held on a velvet cushion by Allison’s page boy, seven-year-old Mathew Orton, of Woodhouse Mill, Her Majesty regally placed it on Allison’s head, thus crowning her the queen of Aston Fence School. That anecdote, like many from across the country, encapsulates what Her Majesty meant to Rother Valley, the United Kingdom and the world.

Despite all the grandeur, the pomp and ceremony, and the serious constitutional role that she played, Her Majesty’s most winning qualities were humour, kindness and the famous mischievous twinkle in her eye. She was a cultural icon, but beneath it all, she was the nation’s grandmother. She loved all of us, and was beloved by all of us in return. I send my deepest condolences to the royal family on behalf of my own family—Natalie, Persephone and Charlotte—and all the people of Rother Valley.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord,

and let perpetual light shine upon her.

May she rest in peace. I offer my humble allegiance and loyalty to His Majesty King Charles III. God save the King.