§ 12.5 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Churchill)
I beg to move,That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty to express the deep concern of this House at the loss which His Majesty has sustained by the death of Her Royal Highness the Princess Beatrice; and to condole with His Majesty on this melancholy occasion; and to assure His Majesty that this House will ever participate with the most affectionate and dutiful attachment in whatever may concern the feelings and interests of His Majesty.The death of Her Royal Highness the Princess Beatrice, youngest and last surviving child of Queen Victoria, closes a chapter in the history of the Royal House and evokes memories of that famous and placid era of peace and progress, which is called the Victorian Age. By the public the Princess will be chiefly remembered for her close association with Queen Victoria; as a child, in married life, and as a widow, she was the Queen's constant companion on private and public occasions and it was to her that the Queen bequeathed the manuscript of her private journal. Moreover she was confirmed in the public regard by the severe personal loss, first of her husband, Prince Henry of Battenberg, who died in the second Ashanti war, and then of her son, Prince Maurice, who died of wounds in France in 1914. The Princess was interested in many works of beneficence, chiefly perhaps in ex-Servicemen, for whom, from her own personal sorrow, she had a keen natural sympathy.
She long held the position of Governor and Captain of the Isle of Wight, in which office she succeeded her husband, and she gained the affection in very great measure, and the regard of the whole community in the island, in which she had spent many happy days during her early residence there, at Osborne, with her mother.
The House will no doubt wish to take this opportunity of expressing their deep sympathy with her children, Her Majesty the Queen Dowager Victoria Eugenie of Spain and the Marquess of Carisbrooke.
§ 12.7 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Greenwood (Wakefield)
My right hon. Friend, with his usual felicity and dignity of language, has, I 660 am certain, expressed the views of all Members of the House. As he rightly says, the last link with the great Victorian Age has now been broken, and the Royal Family are mourning a great lady whose interest in the social wellbeing of our people was well known. I am sure we all share the feeling of loss which her passing has brought to His Majesty and all members of the Royal Family.
§ Sir Percy Harris (Bethnal Green, South-West)
May I be allowed to associate myself and my friends with the eloquent tribute made by the Prime Minister? It so well expressed the feelings of the House, and of all of us, that I do not feel it necessary to add anything, except to say how much my hon. Friends and I join in it.
§ 12.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Lambert (South Molton)
As one who sat in a Parliament summoned by Queen Victoria over 50 years ago, and who had the privilege of moving the Address in reply to Her Gracious Speech in the last Parliament of Mr. Gladstone, I should like to associate my hon. Friends and myself with the expression of sympathy with the Royal Family. The parallel between Princess Beatrice and her Royal Mother is very exact. Both died, not in the sunshine of peace, but in the rumbling of cannon and the lowering clouds of war. The Princess has died during this convulsion, at the end of which a period of peace has yet to come; Queen Victoria died in the midst of the South African war. At the end of that unhappy season, owing to the wisdom of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, a great act of reconciliation was made. May I digress for a moment to recall, Mr. Speaker, that one of the most potent advocates of Sir Henry's policy then was a young stripling who had just come into the House of Commons quite early? Hon. Members will be familiar with his name—Winston Spencer Churchill. Let us hope that that is a happy augury of Divine Providence and that he will be granted health, strength and good fortune to lay the foundations of an edifice of lasting peace for mankind.
§ 12.11 p.m.
§ Captain Peter Macdonald (Isle of Wight)
We have just heard from the Prime Minister, and other right hon. Gentlemen, most moving and eloquent 661 tributes to the Royal Lady whose death we all mourn. Where I had the opportunity of observing and admiring the great qualities of this Royal Lady was in my constituency, the Isle of Wight, Where she was brought up and where her passing will be poignantly felt by all classes of the community. There, as has been said, she was Governor and Captain but she was more than that; she was a leader and an inspiration of all good causes connected with the island, from the Territorial regiment that bore her name, to the work of the most humble village institute. Having lost a husband and a son in the service of the country she had an unbounded sympathy for all those who suffered in a similar way. Although she had to endure great mental and physical suffering in her later years, she never complained or relaxed her interest in the good causes with which she was associated. By her noble and unselfish life, she has set an example to future generations, and by her death we have lost a memorable link with a great Queen whose dignified reign brought honour and glory to Britain and the British Empire; while the Isle of Wight has lost a Governor and friend, whose place it will be difficult to fill.
§ Question put, and agreed to, nemine contradicente.
That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty to express the deep concern of this House at the loss which His Majesty has sustained by the death of Her Royal Highness the Princess Beatrice; and to condole with His Majesty on this melancholy occasion; and to assure His Majesty that this House will ever participate with the most affectionate and dutiful attachment in whatever may concern the feelings and interests of His Majesty.
§ To be presented by Privy Councillors or Members of His Majesty's Household.