ParliamentRoyal FamilySpeeches

Penny Mordaunt – 2022 Tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II

The tribute made by Penny Mordaunt, the Leader of the House, in the House of Commons on 10 September 2022.

It is an honour to bring to a close the tributes paid to her most Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. I speak today as Leader of the House of Commons, but also for the people of Portsmouth, a city she visited not just for fleet reviews, civic events, homecomings, or ship commissioning, but in transit to board her beloved Royal Yacht Britannia. In all cases, the people of my city remember her connection to and understanding of the tools of UK sea power, our sailors, our civilians, their families, our dockyard and our warships. For a time, that was her life, too: she had worn a uniform; she was a naval wife. She understood service and sacrifice and the burdens people carried. That empathy was evident in all that she did. It was no surprise to hear so many tributes from hon. and right hon. Members full of examples of that personal kindness, or of her concern and care for the staff of this estate, including her desire for the Vice-Chamberlain’s weekly notes to keep her up to speed on the gossip.

The Queen was our Polaris, but she was not a distant Queen. She took an interest in us all, because she recognised the burden of service. Her reign began with a very public grief, because she could not mourn her father in private. She loved Balmoral not just for its beauty and peace, but because she got to sleep in the same bed for a whole six weeks. Of all the exceptional things that she did, of all the people and places that she experienced, her rare night of normality, of freedom, out with her sister to celebrate victory in Europe was, in her words, “one of the most memorable”. For me, the fact that she met her new Prime Minister in person and prepared to take a Privy Council 24 hours before her death illustrates the depth of her devotion to duty.

The Queen lived and died in the service of the nation, as her father and his father before him did. In the final analysis, this then is the measure of all greatness. It is not weighed by gain, but in loss. Sacrifice is the ultimate test of faith and duty. All that is yours must be laid down for all that is us. All that is they must be laid down for all that is we. For only those that bear this cross can wear the crown, because crowns are not made just of jewels and precious metals; they are mostly made of love.

Speaking after 9/11, the Queen comforted us and the rest of the world by saying that grief was the price of love. Her words should comfort us still. We may now feel lost and uncertain, just like some may have felt 70 years ago when she vowed that her life would be dedicated to us. If only they had known what a life she would lead, what glories and hope and vision she would bestow. They need not have worried, and nor should we now. Like his mother’s grief at her father’s death, His Majesty’s grief, too, will not be a private one. He will lead us in mourning. He also carries the cross—a cross of sacrifice and service.

Our great Queen has entrusted us all with a living legacy of triumph over tribulation, of cheerfulness over challenge, and of dedication and determination. She has left us, but her values remain with us. Her example compels us to continued fidelity to our King and our country. God save the King.