ParliamentRoyal FamilySpeeches

James Wild – 2022 Tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II

The tribute made by James Wild, the Conservative MP for North West Norfolk, in the House of Commons on 9 September 2022.

It is only three months since I stood here to join the wonderful tributes to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s platinum jubilee. Today the House and the country feels immense sadness at her passing, but that is tempered by the opportunity to recognise her extraordinary life of service, and by knowing that she witnessed the heartfelt displays of affection towards her in the 70th year of her reign.

That unprecedented occasion was celebrated passionately in North West Norfolk, which is unsurprising as my constituency is home to Sandringham, the much-loved private retreat of the late Queen and her family for generations. The continuity that the estate has provided to her family means that her Norfolk home occupied a unique place in her affections. She loved the time she spent there.

Having ascended to the throne at such a young age, Sandringham offered the Queen an escape from the public eye. It was a place where she could relax with family. She was often spotted behind the wheel of a Land Rover, and she enjoyed walking her dogs, country pursuits and her prized horse stud. People living in the villages around the Sandringham estate had great affection for the Queen, and she was a very special part of those close-knit communities. They have happy memories of encounters with the Queen because, as well as the private time she spent there, she chose to undertake many visits over the years. Whether as a member of the Sandringham women’s institute since 1943, and then as its president, taking tea and cake with the ladies, presenting local children with awards or visiting charities and businesses, she was a constant and cherished part of life in west Norfolk.

Perhaps surprisingly, she was even able to go about her life there without fuss. Famously, when out shopping one day, a woman remarked to her, “You look just like the Queen.” To which the Queen is said to have replied, “How reassuring”—presumably with a twinkle in her eye.

Her affection for Sandringham was matched only by that of the Duke of Edinburgh, who gave such love, support and service to Her Majesty. It was from the long library at Sandringham that the Queen delivered the first televised Christmas message in 1957. And perhaps one of the most profound comments in recent times was made during her pandemic broadcast, to which others have referred: “We will meet again.” That simple phrase expressed the hope that we all needed, and the immediate response to her passing yesterday was people coming together at Windsor, Buckingham Palace, Sandringham, Balmoral and elsewhere to share their grief and to give thanks for an amazing life.

On behalf of my North West Norfolk constituents, I offer the deepest condolences to the entire royal family. God save the King.