HL Deb 09 May 1935 vol 96 cc833-6

My Lords, before moving that the House do now adjourn to Westminster Hall for the purpose of presenting an Address to His Majesty, it may be for the convenience of your Lordships if I indicate very briefly the procedure. It is impossible, owing to the brief interval between the hour of the meeting of the House and the hour fixed for the presentation of the Address, to marshal the House in the precedence usually adopted in processions of the House. The time for seating the House is a short one as the doors leading into Westminster Hall have to be closed by 11.40. I would therefore ask the House to observe as far as possible the order indicated in the notice already circulated to your Lordship's by the Clerk of the Parliaments. After the Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition will come members of the Government and ex-Cabinet Ministers, all of whom have had special plans as to the seating arrangements: then the Bishops' Bench, headed by the two Archbishops, and then the House in the order of precedence, Dukes, Marquesses, Earls, Viscounts and Barons. The plans circulated to the House bear letters against the rows of seats allotted for the various ranks, and corresponding letters will be found on the rows of seats in Westminster Hall. I would ask your Lordships to leave the House by the gangways on each side of the Table and as we get into the Peers Lobby to form up in rows of four abreast and to proceed in that order by St. Stephen's Hall to Westminster Hall.

In Westminster Hall I would ask you to divide into two streams, one passing down the centre gangway and one down the side, so that the rows of seats may be filled from either side and the seating accomplished as expeditiously as possible. I have been informed that His Majesty desires that we shall remain seated while he delivers his address. Therefore your Lordships will bear in mind that we need not rise for His Majesty's address. When their Majesties have left Westminster Hall the Lord Chancellor will be returning with the Mace to the House. After the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker have left, the Judges' procession will leave the Hall. It will not be necessary for your Lordships as a body to return to this Chamber as there will merely be a formal adjournment during pleasure in order that we may transact our normal business at the usual hour this afternoon. I move that the House do now adjourn to Westminster Hall.

Moved, That the House do now adjourn to Westminster Hall.—(Viscount Hailsham.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House adjourned to Westminster Hall accordingly, for the purpose of presenting to His Majesty an Address of congratulation in accordance with the Resolution of yesterday. The Commons also assembled in the Hall for a similar purpose.

The Address from the House of Lords, read by the Lord Chancellor (Viscount Sankey), was as follows:

"Most Gracious Majesty,

"We, Your Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer to Your Majesty our most heartfelt congratulations on the completion of the twenty-fifth year of Your Reign. With every one of Your Majesty's subjects, whether within the United Kingdom or in the most distant corners of Your Majesty's Dominions, we give thanks to Almighty God for the blessing and protection bestowed upon Your Majesty during these five and twenty years; and we pray that for many years to come Your Majesty may continue to rule over us in health and strength and happiness.

"This City of Westminster, this Hall wherein we meet, tell the story of the growth through centuries of civil liberty and the rule of law, of that ordered freedom which is the pride and heritage of our race. In comparison with these long centuries, twenty-five years may seem but a short span of time. They have been years of struggle and anxiety as well as of resolute achievement. Into them have been crowded the fierce ordeal of the most desolating war in history, the toil of rebuilding the shaken structure of our common life, the slow and arduous endeavour to regain prosperity and to establish peace. Elsewhere Thrones and Constitutions have failed to outlast the strain. Yet in this Realm the development of public rights and liberties has not been arrested but has been made wider and more sure. More truly than any of Your illustrious ancestors Your Majesty rules over a Nation of free citizens. Yet in spite of, nay rather because of, this wide extension of government by the people, the Throne stands more firmly than ever before as the centre of the national life.

"Beyond the seas there have been other, perhaps even greater, changes. During Your Majesty's Reign free institutions have sprung into being and have flourished throughout Your Empire and in Your Parliament of Westminster Your Majesty has marked the growth of Your self-governing Dominions by the declaration of their authentic place in that association which we know as the British Commonwealth of Nations.

"Your Majesty's own personality has made the Throne not merely a symbol but a loved and living reality. For in the Sovereign Your subjects have discerned a man who by simply being himself has commanded their respect and appealed to their hearts. In time of war the standard-bearer of the national spirit, in the anxious years which followed a counsellor wise and steadfast, seeking not Your own but ever mindful of the needs and cares of all Your people, avoiding no hardship and shrinking from no sacrifice, Your Majesty- has called forth a loyalty and love which have given a new meaning to the name of King.

"We venture also to offer our loyal homage and respectful congratulations to Our Gracious Queen, who has shared with Your Majesty the toils and triumphs of these five and twenty years. By her unfailing interest in the lives and homes of the people Her Majesty has won a place of Her own in their affection. When we see gathered round Your Majesties Your sons, always and in every part of the world active in the public service, we have a sure confidence that, when this generation has passed and the bright pageantry of this week has become a distant memory, the House of Windsor will still reign over a loyal and united people.

"In no formal manner but from the depth of our hearts we pray—God bless Your Majesty."

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