ParliamentRoyal FamilySpeeches

Andrew Lewer – 2022 Tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II

The tribute made by Andrew Lewer, the Conservative MP for Northampton South, in the House of Commons on 9 September 2022.

Her late Majesty was always warmly welcomed to Northampton, so the town mourns her passing most sincerely. Looking over some of the old coverage of royal visits to Northampton, since the sad news yesterday, it is clear how much joy she brought on every occasion. Many Members from both sides of the House have succeeded in communicating the almost magical combination of majesty and personable friendliness, and yet within that, one was always aware of her sheer presence—even when stood as an infant in a lay-by in 1977 with my dear mother, Mrs Sandra Lewer, waving a dock leaf and getting a wave from the limousine in return.

Two of the occasions on which I met Her Majesty illustrate that duality. On the 800th anniversary of the Maundy service in 2010, she presented the ceremonial money to another inspirational woman, the late Sister Merle Wilde, one of the last of the Methodist Order of Deaconesses. There was tradition, dignity, majesty.

At the diamond jubilee two years later, I met Her Majesty at a much less formal event. When introduced, I found myself, for reasons too obscure to detain the House with tonight, talking to her about doughnuts. Her Majesty took it in typically good part, thankfully, but I sensed rather than saw a certain look pass between the then lord-lieutenant, who was also thankfully a friend of mine, and my wife, who had much to say about it afterwards. Her Majesty was personable, cheerful and filled with humanity. Blending that with her dignity and bearing was brilliantly described as “alchemy” by the right hon. and learned Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman) earlier.

I thank you, Mr Speaker, and Mr Deputy Speaker for your indulgence tonight, and for that of the House staff as well. It is really appreciated and it has meant a lot to us to be able to do speak this evening. May God bless Her late Majesty the Queen and keep her safe. God save the King.