ParliamentRoyal FamilySpeeches

Antony Higginbotham – 2022 Tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II

The tribute made by Antony Higginbotham, the Conservative MP for Burnley, in the House of Commons on 10 September 2022.

It is both a privilege and a sadness to speak today, to pay tribute to Her late Majesty the Queen—personally, on behalf of my family, and on behalf of my constituents in Burnley, Padiham and all the villages and parishes that make up our borough. Thursday was a day that we knew in our minds would come, but that we hoped in our hearts would not. The death of Her late Majesty the Queen was something that would happen one day, but never that day. On Thursday, that day came.

We will all have our own thoughts, feelings, emotions and memories of the Queen. It did not matter if you had never met her or you had met her many times; you felt close to her. We all knew her personally. She was part of our lives, and we knew her because we knew her ideals, values and sense of duty, and most of all her irrevocable, unwavering devotion and love for our country, and for all of us, which was always reciprocated. Her incredible impact on our lives and country meant that often we were able to forget just how important she was to us. In the last few days, we have remembered.

The realisation of just how much the Queen did to steer this great ship that is the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, and the impact that she had on each of us, is what causes our grief and sorrow now. Through her many addresses to our nation, she was our guiding light. She asked us to focus on what was important when we needed focusing, she brought us cheer when we needed cheering up, she gave us hope and wisdom when we felt down, and she encouraged us to reflect when life got too busy and we struggled to find perspective. For most of us, she was the only monarch we had ever known.

During her reign, the Queen made three trips to my constituency. The first was in 1955, when she toured the nation as our new monarch. The second was in 1968, when she travelled through Padiham to visit St Peter’s Church in Burnley. The third and most recent was in 2012 for the diamond jubilee. On each occasion, everyone came out. The Civic Trust, in a caption for one photo taken during the 1968 visit, described how

“a sea of faces and seemingly hundreds of waving Union Jacks greeted the Queen. The crowds were spilling on to the roadway, turning in Trafalgar Street and it was more than evident that Burnley was turning out in full force…there was only just sufficient road for the Royal motorcade to pass.”

Such was our affection and admiration for her, both as Queen and as Duke of Lancaster.

As we pledge ourselves and our unwavering loyalty to His Majesty the King, who we know will lead us just as ably, all that remains for me to say is: “Ma’am, thank you for all you did. May you rest in peace.” God save the King.