ParliamentRoyal FamilySpeeches

Simon Fell – 2022 Tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II

The tribute made by Simon Fell, the Conservative MP for Barrow and Furness, in the House of Commons on 10 September 2022.

I rise to pay tribute, and to offer heartfelt condolences on behalf of the people of Barrow and Furness, and my family, to King Charles and his family on the death of Her late Majesty.

Her Majesty served our nation for 70 years with a remarkable and unstinting sense of duty that should inspire us all, but even with tens of thousands of hours of her life captured on film and written about in so many column inches, we knew nothing about her politics or her views on any policy debated in this place, despite what we may have thought or suspected. The fact that she held audiences with Prime Ministers through wars, pandemics and times of national crisis and kept her counsel, even with the passage of so many years, speaks volumes about her character and her sense of duty.

Her Majesty was a fixture in our lives. All my life she has been there: she has been a constant. When I was young and fell in love with books for the first time, there she was, greeting Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant at the end of Roald Dahl’s novel. What I saw in my mind was not a character in a story with a crown on her head; it was our Queen. She was so much a part of our world and my world, and so magical at the same time, that of course it was entirely possible that it was Her Majesty taking breakfast with a giant.

I am glad that that sense of wonder and magic crosses the generations. My children were delighted to see the Queen sharing the screen and her jam sandwiches with Paddington Bear. She was comfortable with herself and her role—always a steady hand on the tiller of our nation as our unflappable, constant monarch, but still aware of what she meant to people and the joy and comfort that she could and did bring.

Her late Majesty was a friend and frequent visitor to Barrow and south Lakeland. She launched HMS Dreadnought, our first nuclear submarine, and when she launched the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible a crowd of 15,000 people gathered in the drizzle to witness her blessing the ship and christening it with a bottle of elderberry wine. She visited Furness General Hospital, our town hall and the North-West Evening Mail and opened our market. Celebrating her platinum jubilee, I was struck by just how many constituents came forward with stories of times they had met Her Majesty and just how important those moments were to them. Many of those moments were fleeting, but the impact that they made was substantial.

It has been quoted a few times today and yesterday, but Her late Majesty once said:

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

We loved that remarkable lady for her service, her dignity and her unstinting dedication to the nation and to her people. In grief, we can reflect on that dedication to us and perhaps draw some comfort from her service and her life. I certainly hope that her family and His Majesty King Charles will find solace in the grace and gratitude of our nation. May she rest in peace. God save the King.