§ Mr. Speaker
I have to report to the House that this House has this day attended Her Majesty in Westminster Hall with an Address, in reply to which Her Majesty was pleased to make a Most Gracious Speech.
That Mr. SPEAKER'S words in presenting the Address, and Her Majesty's Most Gracious Reply, be entered upon the Journals of this House."—[Mr. Foot.]
§ Mr. SPEAKER presented the Address to Her Majesty in the following words:
§ "We Your Majesty's faithful Commons, offer our humble congratulations on the completion of 25 years of your reign. We assure you of our loyal devotion, both to you as our Queen, and to your Royal Family. We wish to express our profound and heartfelt gratitude for the selfless and unstinting service you have so freely given to our land.
§ Your distinguished reign has covered a period of tumultuous change. When you ascended the Throne this ancient Parliament at Westminster still governed an Empire in which only Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, Pakistan and the then Ceylon—now Sri Lanka—were independent. Today, counting the United Kingdom, there are 36 independent members of the Commonwealth of which you are the Head. Thus your reign has wit- 422 nessed the entire development of the New Commonwealth.
§ Your faithful Commons watched with pride the heartwarming welcome you received in your recent extensive tour in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, and once again it has been made manifest that your Royal Person serves as a mighty unifying influence in a Commonwealth composed of nations diverse in language, culture, religion and even in forms of Government.
§ Here at home your 25 years' reign has coincided with eight Parliaments in an era of unprecedentedly rapid change. We are a fortunate people, for our Constitutional Monarchy is a symbol of stability in a changing world. With dignity and grace you, Ma' am, and all the Royal Family, have adapted to the many changes in society. Thus, today, the Monarchy is closer to the people than it has ever been before and it is cemented in affectionate loyalty from the nation as a whole.
§ As the High Court of Parliament pays its tribute to your Majesty in this historic Westminster Hall, it is well that we should remind ourselves of the proud heritage it is our privilege to protect and to enhance.
§ During your reign our history has taken a major change of course. From being the centre of a far flung Empire, we have carved out for ourselves a new rôle by becoming working partners with our neighbours in Europe. The legislative powers of the European Economic Community and its institutions have required us to master the difficulties of living in a common system with common rules. This has not been, and is not, a light task, for a country with our proud history, but following in the traditions of our fathers we not only accept change but seek to use it to our advantage.
§ The character of the British people has not changed. The same adventurous daring, the same quiet courage and the same burning faith in democracy that inspired our earlier generations to high endeavour are all still with us. That is why, as we salute with gratitude the wisdom and the grace that has characterised your reign, we look with confidence to the future.
§ In the heavy responsibilities you bear and in the arduous tasks you undertake 423 you have been nobly supported by His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and by all the Royal Family.
§ With deep respect and with abiding affection we offer you the homage of this the Mother of Free Parliaments. It is our earnest prayer that by the Grace of God Almighty you will long continue to be the Sovereign of this land we love so well and to which you are giving a life of such dedicated service.
§ God save Your Majesty, and give you His blessing, both now and in years to come.