HC Deb 09 May 1935 vol 301 cc1107-9

I have to report to the House that this House has this day attended His Majesty in Westminster Hall with an Address; in reply to which His Majesty was pleased to make a Most Gracious Speech.

Ordered, "That Mr. SPEAKER'S words in presenting the Address, and His Majesty's Most Gracious Reply, be entered upon the Journals of this House".—[The Prime Minister.]

MR. SPEAKER presented the Address to His Majesty in the following words:

"We, Your Majesty's faithful Commons, desire to offer our humble congratulations on the completion of twenty-five years of Your reign, our assurance of our loyal devotion to Your Person and Your House, and our heartfelt gratitude for what You have done for Your Country and Your people.

On Your Majesty's accession to the Throne we ventured to use these words—that we were convinced 'that Your reign, under the favour of Divine Providence, would be distinguished by unswerving efforts to promote the virtue, prosperity, and contentment of the realm and to guard the rights and liberties of Your Majesty's faithful people.' That hope has been abundantly fulfilled.

Our Constitution has proved itself strong enough to withstand the shock of a great war, and flexible enough to adapt itself to the changing circumstances of the Empire and the world. It has given the nation stability when elsewhere foundations were crumbling. While retaining its historic features, it has been broadened to give expression to the will of the whole people on an extended franchise, and under it Your Majesty's Governments have been able, without breach of continuity, to undertake new responsibilities on behalf of the public weal.

Your Majesty's reign has seen profound changes in world conditions, and the consequent emergence of complex and unfamiliar problems. We may humbly claim that our historic forms of government have proved themselves adequate to meet each crisis as it arose. Our traditional polity has varied its methods in order to preserve its essentials. Britain remains, as ever, a free and a well-ordered nation.

These years record a continuous process of development in the Empire of which Your Majesty is Sovereign. The Colonies have grown in economic and political stature. We have now before us constitutional proposals designed widely to extend the measure of self-Government inaugurated in India fourteen years ago. Statutory recognition has been given by Parliament to the new structure of our partnership with the Dominions as free, equal, and autonomous States united by a common allegiance to the Crown.

Your Majesty's high office has been enriched by the personality of Him who holds it. You have shared in the nation's trials and triumphs; You have sorrowed and rejoiced with Your people; Your wisdom and fortitude have steadied the national temper; with the gracious aid of the Queen You have won by your sympathy and kindliness something warmer than allegiance and profounder than loyalty. To-day You are more than Sovereign; You are Head of the Family, and of a Nation and an Empire You have made a Household.

Twenty-five years ago You defined the tasks of a Sovereign as 'the safeguarding of the treasures of the past' and 'the preparing of the path of the future.' Your Majesty has nobly fulfilled both duties. We look back with grateful hearts upon the past, and with confidence we await the future. We offer You, with deep respect and affection, the homage of a free Parliament, and we pray that, by the blessing of Almighty God, You will long continue to be the Sovereign of a proud and devoted People."

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