ParliamentRoyal FamilySpeeches

Leslie Griffiths – 2022 Tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II (Baron Griffiths of Burry Port)

The tribute made by Leslie Griffiths, Baron Griffiths of Burry Port, in the House of Lords on 10 September 2022.

My Lords, it is a privilege to take part in this debate. We all know the troubles that the late Queen lived through. I have a list of them but, in obedience to the Chief Whip, I will jump straight to my conclusion for the sake of brevity. She navigated such difficult waters with the skill of a diplomat and as a stateswoman of the first order. She exhibited all the qualities that we heard so brilliantly set out in last evening’s speech by our new King. She must have willed herself to stay alive long enough to ensure the transfer of power just last Monday from one Prime Minister to another, which leads me to conclude that little became her in this life like the leaving of it.

The president of the Methodist Conference, with whom I have spoken, highlights what for him were her qualities of excellence: her resilience and her patent faith. In his name as well as my own, I hope noble Lords will allow me to pay tribute to our late Queen on behalf of the people called Methodist.

She was patron of the Boys’ Brigade. I was its president for several years, until recently. Members of the brigade, young men and women, were frequently called to do duty as marshals and stewards at royal garden parties at Buckingham Palace or Holyroodhouse. Her messages to the brigade were always bright, encouraging and supportive. She graciously allowed us to hold our special occasions in premises we could never otherwise have dreamed of, including St James’s Palace, where we saw so many noble Lords looking resplendent this morning.

She invited me and a small party of young people to Balmoral at the time of her Diamond Jubilee, just a few days after her appearance with James Bond at the opening of the Olympic Games. We giggled and chortled as we recalled that incident. Her manner in putting our young people, who had been totally overwhelmed on arriving at Balmoral, at their ease was simply wonderful. She had a natural touch.

A song we love to sing in the Boys’ Brigade has a chorus that runs like this. I am terribly tempted to sing it, but I believe I may be out of order.

Noble Lords


Lord Griffiths of Burry Port (Lab)

I feel there is a consensus:

“We have an anchor that keeps the soul

Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,

Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,

Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.”—[Applause.]

I paused precisely for that.

It is not difficult to pluck from that Boys’ Brigade song the words “steadfast and sure”, the brigade’s motto, because they describe our late patron’s character to a tee. On behalf of the leadership of the Boys’ Brigade, and in my own name, I pay tribute to our late patron for her faithfulness shown in the small tasks of everyday life as well as the grand ones that we have heard others talk about today.

Finally, I am so glad to be paying my tribute today rather than yesterday, because it allowed me, as it has all of us, to witness the remarkable, powerful, revealing, brilliant and moving address which King Charles III made last evening on television. He displayed all the qualities we so readily attribute to his late mother. I end by echoing a remark by Christopher Wren: if you want to define the late Queen’s legacy, look no further; you will see it in her son.