HL Deb 03 April 2002 vol 633 cc385-404
The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn)

rose to move, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as follows:

"Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, beg leave to express our heartfelt sympathy in the great sorrow which Your Majesty has suffered by the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother; and to offer to Your Majesty our most sincere condolences.

"This year marks Your Majesty's Golden Jubilee but also the fiftieth anniversary of the death of His late Majesty King George VI, to whom Queen Elizabeth was a devoted Consort. Their Majesties' courage during the second world war inspired and strengthened the nation in a manner which will be remembered always by Your subjects at home and overseas. Queen Elizabeth's charm, dignity and steadfast service during His late Majesty's reign and throughout fifty years of widowhood won Her the boundless admiration of this House, as of all Your subjects. We were proud to celebrate Her late Majesty's centenary and to see Queen Elizabeth undertake and enjoy public duties even in Her 102nd year. Only seven weeks ago we saw again the courage typical of Her Majesty, on the sorrowful occasion of the death of Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret; but we rejoice that Her Majesty was able to witness the fiftieth anniversary of Your Accession as our Queen.

"We assure Your Majesty that, mindful of the great love which Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother inspired in us all, we shall ever hold dear Her memory. Our prayers for Queen Elizabeth, and for You and for Your Majesty's family, are joined with those of the entire nation"

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, this is an occasion for sadness and mourning, but I believe that it is also an occasion for full-hearted and grateful commemoration of a long life well lived in the service of this nation. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother brought smiles wherever she went. We remember the delight and happiness and, I think I may say, mischief, which seemed to accompany her everywhere.

It is not long since we gathered together on another occasion to mark with great gladness and joy the Queen Mother's 100th birthday. The warmth, affection and regard in which she was held was plainly apparent to all that day, and in the days that followed as the nation celebrated.

On another more recent occasion we gathered here to send our heartfelt sympathy to her on the loss, so hard for any parent to bear, of her younger daughter, Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret.

In many ways for many of our people, the life of the Queen Mother seems from a very distant past, but there are resonances which echo still, and ought to do so. She was born in the year of the death of the great Queen. When she was still a young child of 14, at about this time of the year, the armies of unreason were massing. Young men, including her own brother, were ready to sacrifice themselves to bring down what they saw as tyranny. Then the old world shook and was fractured beyond all hope of repair. She was still a young woman of 17 when the Russian Revolution erupted.

When His Majesty King George VI came to the throne, the monarchy was an institution which had been shaken and also tested by the abdication of 1936. Their Majesties re-established the monarchy firmly in the loyalty and affections of the people. When crowned, Queen Elizabeth was crowned Empress of India. After the death of His late Majesty in 1952, the Queen Mother continued a full round of public duties long after she could have chosen an honourable retirement. She spent half her long life in widowhood.

Some of your Lordships will remember how Queen Elizabeth, with her husband, was an inspiration during the darkest days of the war by staying in London to face, with her family, the perils of the Blitz. Her courage at that time served as a beacon of encouragement which will for ever shine in the memory.

Her life of public service spanned the generations in a remarkable way. She embraced that life with grace and commitment. She was no less enthusiastic in her support for the Commonwealth and we know that the entire Commonwealth joins with us today. And yet though her life of service began so long ago, her presence and influence has continued to be felt in more recent times. She brought to all she did unique personal qualities. Her courage I have already mentioned. It was reinforced by boundless charm; perceptiveness enlivened with a bright and sparkling wit; and sympathetic consideration of the needs and feelings of others.

Above all, the Queen Mother retained a genuinely unaffected interest in the lives of her fellow countrymen. Her life was characterised by her charitable work and her support of the Armed Forces. She was involved with over 300 charities. She was Colonel-in-Chief of no fewer than 13 regular regiments, eight of them in the British Army and five in the forces of Commonwealth countries. All will escort the coffin to Westminster Hall on Friday. Through this absolute commitment to public duty, she enriched the life of this nation.

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother brought to her private life the same energy, charm, determination and steadfast strength. She had a great gift for family life. Her interests were many. She delighted in music and was a keen patron of the visual arts. Her love of National Hunt racing was matched only by her keen knowledge of the subject and the relevant odds. Her personal qualities were deeply rooted in her firm faith and love of God.

It is difficult to imagine this country without the Queen Mother. Born at the beginning of a difficult century, her experience and wisdom linked the decades. She won and retained the admiration and love of those in her own generation, but was equally an inspiration to those younger than herself. We all mourn her passing, as Duchess, Queen and Queen Mother.

To live to a great age brings respect almost automatically, but to inspire, maintain and sustain a loving and affectionate regard from so many is much more difficult. That was her very great achievement.

We have lost the Queen Mother. We need to remind ourselves that Her Majesty the Queen has lost the counsel of a Queen and a mother. It is in that spirit that we offer our truest sympathy to Her Majesty the Queen and to all members of the Royal Family. I beg to move.

Moved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as follows:

"Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, beg leave to express our heartfelt sympathy in the great sorrow which Your Majesty has suffered by the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother; and to offer to Your Majesty our most sincere condolences.

"This year marks Your Majesty's Golden Jubilee but also the fiftieth anniversary of the death of His late Majesty King George VI, to whom Queen Elizabeth was a devoted Consort. Their Majesties' courage during the second world war inspired and strengthened the nation in a manner which will be remembered always by Your subjects at home and overseas. Queen Elizabeth's charm, dignity and steadfast service during His late Majesty's reign and throughout fifty years of widowhood won Her the boundless admiration of this House, as of all Your subjects. We were proud to celebrate Her late Majesty's centenary and to see Queen Elizabeth undertake and enjoy public duties even in Her 102nd year. Only seven weeks ago we saw again the courage typical of Her Majesty, on the sorrowful occasion of the death of Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret; but we rejoice that Her Majesty was able to witness the fiftieth anniversary of Your Accession as our Queen.

"We assure Your Majesty that, mindful of the great love which Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother inspired in us all, we shall ever hold dear Her memory. Our prayers for Queen Elizabeth, and for You and for Your Majesty's family, are joined with those of the entire nation"—(Lord Williams of Mostyn.)

11.45 a.m.

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, on this occasion, I know that I speak for the whole House when I rise to support the Motion moved by the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House.

It is indeed a sad and sombre moment when this House is recalled to send such an humble Address to Her Majesty the Queen on the death of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. It is even sadder that it should come so soon after the death of Princess Margaret and in the same year as the celebration of Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee year. To Her Majesty the Queen and all members of the Royal Family go our sympathy and prayers.

I do not believe that I am the only one to have been moved by the many tributes that have been paid these last few days: by those who knew her so well; by those representatives of so many organisations, whose interests she cared about and nurtured so much, as the noble and learned Lord mentioned—especially those followers of the turf, a subject on which the Queen Mother was no mean expert; by members of the public, who wanted to express a sense of loss and an appreciation of a life that seemed so much to be part of our country's fixtures and fittings; and, most memorably of all, by her grandson, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, who reflected the mood of the nation when he said, "She was an institution in her own right".

Her life personified all those who understood the true meaning of duty, service and sacrifice. No generation alive in Britain and the Commonwealth today will be unaffected by her death. Her life spanned a century of enormous change in the world and, more particularly, here in the United Kingdom. It is extraordinary to think that she was the last Empress of India and that her life witnessed the rise and fall of Communism, two terrible world wars, the growth of technology and communication and huge social changes that left no family unaffected. Yet, across all those years, she herself never changed. She remained a pillar of stability and good humour and was a joy to all those millions whose lives she touched and graced with her sparkle and charm.

Nearly two years ago, I formed part of a small group from this House that presented the Queen Mother with an humble Address on the occasion of her 100th birthday. The impression that she left was one of enormous vitality—a joie de vivre—and when we made to go, not wishing to impinge too much on her time or to weary her, she insisted that more drinks be brought and that we should tell her more about politics and in particular your Lordships' House, a place that she held in great affection.

In her long life she knew testing times, but she never wavered. She shared without hesitation the grief and the danger of the poorest during the Blitz. She devoted herself tirelessly and unstintingly to public duty to the end. Fancy visiting an aircraft carrier at the age of 101! That public duty is a concept that this House has always honoured and recognised above all else.

The Queen Mother's achievements and her litany of service are written in the hearts of the British people. They, and all of us in this House—and, I know, many former Members of this House, too—give thanks for a life lived to the full. She made her mark on this nation and her memory will he warmly cherished.

Baroness Williams of Crosby

My Lords, from these Benches, we, too, thank the Leader of the House for reading the humble Address. We associate very closely with his words of sympathy to Her Majesty the Queen and her family on the death of Her Royal Highness the Queen Mother.

We recognise that the Royal Family has recently suffered two very serious blows—first, the loss of Princess Margaret and now of the Queen Mother. We have every possible sympathy with Her Majesty the Queen, her son, the Prince of Wales, and her other children at this time. Among the many tributes about the Queen Mother—the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, mentioned one of them—one in particular reached me, as a grandparent. I refer to the wonderful phrase of the Prince of Wales, that, "She was a magical grandmother". I think that everyone in this House who is a grandfather or grandmother will feel that that tribute is one that they would wish to he paid to them by their grandchildren when they reach the end of their lives.

Many have rightly said that we mourn the Queen Mother's passing, but we would like to add that we also celebrate her life. The combination of mourning and celebration most aptly sums up the life of the Queen Mother.

We recognise that the Queen Mother brought a great deal of dedication to public service. There have been many tributes to that effect from this country and from around the world. However, there was another quality that made the Queen Mother special—she brought to her life of public service not only dedication but an extraordinary quality of enjoyment. She obviously got a huge amount of pleasure from the very work that she did. She reached out to people so that everyone she met felt that they were a special person in her eyes. One of the most remarkable things about her was her capacity to extend, in a sense, affection and love to all kinds of people. At the end of the day, when they had met her, no one any longer felt that they were an ordinary person, because in her eyes everyone seemed to be an extraordinary person.

I remember meeting the Queen Mother on one particular occasion when, back in the 1970s, I was Education Secretary. She and other members of the Royal Family regularly used to attend the annual meeting of the Commonwealth Scholars held at the Commonwealth Institute. It was an occasion in royal diaries. However, no member of the Royal Family attended with such enthusiasm as the Queen Mother, who insisted on meeting every single Commonwealth scholar. I remember one occasion when, although she was scheduled to leave at a particular hour, at 5 p.m., she still had not met every Commonwealth scholar. So she stayed until almost 6 p.m., and there was not a single person whom she did not greet, welcome and make feel at home. It was a very special moment for each of those Commonwealth scholars which they would never forget.

The Queen Mother—if I may tell one other little anecdote—was of course also the Chancellor of the University of London. On one occasion, 30 years ago, my deputy leader Lord McNally became one of the many hundreds of people to have received at her hands as Chancellor a degree from the University of London. Afterwards, his mother said to him, "I noticed that she gave you a very special smile". I think that every single parent whose child met the Queen Mother has said exactly the same thing about her.

As the Leader of the House said, the Queen Mother also had an astonishing sense of wit and indeed of mischief. She was not only very quick on her feet—and not only at the Castle of Mey, where she was reputed to be a wonderful dancer of Scottish reels; on one occasion I saw her there twirling around the floor—but also very quick of mind. On one occasion, on one of her trips for the Commonwealth, she met an elderly African gentleman who waited a very long time in line to shake her hand. When he finally reached the Queen Mother, he said, "Ma'am, I hold against England what has been done to my people and will not easily forgive it". The Queen Mother smiled and said, "As a Scot, I have to say that I agree wholeheartedly".

As the Leader of the House has also said, the Queen Mother spanned a very long period in the history of these islands. However, she also spanned a period in which the monarchy moved from being the top of a very fixed social hierarchy. She was born into that hierarchy, but when she married the King, King George VI, she became a part of its top. However, throughout the war years and in the years immediately after the war, she moved elegantly from that aspect of the monarchy to one in which the monarchy was recognised as resting on popular support. I think that the greatest tribute we can pay to her is to say not only that she helped her husband King George VI, a shy and upright man, to meet with and contact his people, but that we owe her a truly great deal for the evolution of the monarchy to what it is today—a monarchy in which the Crown is very close to its people. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother played the single greatest part in that transformation. For that we as a country owe her a very great deal.

Lord Craig of Radley

My Lords, it is a great privilege to speak to the Motion on behalf of these Benches and to contribute to the most moving tributes already paid to a very gracious and remarkable lady. I doubt whether the death of anyone else one has known and been lucky enough to meet on a variety of different occasions could have enveloped my mind with such a multitude of disparate thoughts and reactions. We sense the great sadness of, and have great sympathy for, Her Majesty the Queen. To have lost two of her oldest, and very close, family members in a matter of weeks is a tragedy of numbing proportions. Our sincerest condolences and deep sympathy go to her personally, and of course to all the other members of the Royal Family.

In my mixture of memories and emotions, I recall that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth had been at the heart of the nation for all of my lifetime and more. She was Queen Consort, and the last Queen Empress, when I was still at kindergarten in Dublin.

Along with many others, I cherish happy memories of our discussions sitting together over a lunch or dinner or meeting at a reception. To discover that she liked a compliment as much as anyone half her age and greatly enjoyed a joke was a delight. She entered wholeheartedly into everything she did. All recall her amazing spirit and vitality. She gave to everyone she met a sense of her personal interest and enthusiasm for them as individuals. Of her it could truly be said that she loved people.

As I stood at her side as she took the salute for a parade of thousands on Horse Guards on her 90th birthday—a parade not only of the three services but of all those who represented her wide interests and pleasures—her attention never flagged. She was just so excited, enthusiastic and taken over by it all. Her love of horses and racing gave her another wide following. She was Colonel in Chief of many regiments and battalions, both regular and reserve. Her yearly distribution of shamrock to the Irish Guards on St Patrick's Day was a time-honoured tradition.

She had a soft spot for the Royal Air Force and was frequently involved in support for it. She was Commandant-in-Chief of the Central Flying School of the Royal Air Force for more than 40 years.

Seventy years ago, when Duchess of York, she and the Duke were attending a lunch at Trent Park hosted by Sir Philip Sassoon, then Under Secretary of State for Air. Sir Philip had his own aircraft and had arranged that, after lunch, the Duchess would be taken for a flight piloted by Dermot Boyle, who in 1956 was to become Chief of the Air Staff. Dermot Boyle's account of their experiences was typically droll. The private airstrip at Trent Park was small and surrounded by high trees. It was appalling as an airfield, but Sir Philip liked his trees. He would never allow any to be chopped down.

So, after lunch, the Duchess and Dermot walked together through the woods to the landing strip, and got airborne safely. They flew around, watched the Duke playing golf on the golf course, had a look over parts of London and then landed back, not without some difficulty, at Trent Park. About a week later, an Air Council instruction emerged. It had come to the notice of the Air Council, it said, that members of the Royal Family were being flown by officers of the Royal Air Force in conditions quite unbecoming to their station. In future, all flights for members of the Royal Family had to be from approved airfields and cleared beforehand by the Air Council.

Evidently, at an Air Council meeting after lunch at Trent Park, Sir Philip had reported how much Her Royal Highness had enjoyed the flight and that she was devoted to the Royal Air Force. However, uniformed Air Council members were most unhappy about the risk that had been taken, using such an unsuitable airstrip. A couple of years ago, I asked Her Majesty whether she remembered her flight from Trent Park with Dermot Boyle. She said that she did indeed. I was impressed.

She took in her stride the unpleasant interruptions while she spoke before unveiling the statue to Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Harris which stands outside the Royal Air Force Church of St Clement Danes in the Strand. Once again, her backing for the Royal Air Force and the services shone through.

We shall all wish to remember her in our own particular way. She must have sat for many, many portraits. Some do her greater justice than others. The one that I most like—it hangs in the officers' mess at RAF Bentley Priory—has her in white court dress, with a glittering tiara and a treasure trove of ever more diamonds and pearls in necklace and brooches, looking as regal and impressive as is possible, but with the light of laughter and amusement in her eyes.

She will always be remembered for the unique brightness and pleasure she brought to so many of her countrymen and women, to old and young alike, and to the whole wide world of her contacts. Truly could we all feel, without any reserve, that we were her most loyal and devoted admirers.

Her passing after a momentous and admirable life deprives us of her presence, but leaves us all blessed and privileged to have known one who always put duty before self; one who for all of her adult life dedicated herself to the whole nation, the empire and then the Commonwealth; and who loved, and just as much was adored by, her family and a world of friends. We all grieve for her greatly.


The Archbishop of Canterbury

My Lords, it is with great sadness that I convey from these Benches the support of the Lords Spiritual for the Motion. I hope, too, that my few words may reflect some of the feelings of the wider Church.

As we reflect on and pay tribute to a life well lived, our hearts go out to all those who will miss her most; the Queen and the Royal Family. As has already been mentioned, their bereavement is the greatest and the hardest to bear. Yet so greatly has the Queen Mother been loved that we all recognise a sense of real loss. That great love and the respect she has inspired across the generations arose from her marvellous example of service and duty. Yet to this she has added her own very special grace and charm, so that every family, here in Britain and across the Commonwealth, found a place for her in their hearts.

We appreciated the way she took up uncomplaining the unexpected burden of service to her country and we remember a Queen Mother who carried this burden with unfailing courage, supported by the great joy that she took in her family. Let us not forget that she faced with courage, as has already been mentioned, the private sadness of the loss of her husband, a widowhood of 51 years, and very recently the death of her younger daughter.

One source of this courage was her deep and straightforward faith in Almighty God. Her devotion to the truths of the Christian gospel was a rich source of strength. It helped to sustain her throughout her long life, lived with such grace, elegance and, most of all, with a deep and enduring joy.

I want to add to the anecdotes that have already been mentioned. I remember her saying with a laugh that I was her eighth archbishop. She had known Randall Davidson, who was appointed Dean at Windsor by Queen Victoria. I may have been one of eight archbishops but the Queen Mother was unique. On another occasion I recall mentioning the name of John Henry Newman, who was vicar of St Mary's, Oxford as long ago as the 1820s. Her reply stunned me. "Oh yes,", she replied with enthusiasm, "my grandfather was profoundly influenced by him". Suddenly we had travelled back the best part of 180 years.

We cannot do better than to pause today, as we are doing, to say a heartfelt thank you for a long life, one nurtured by a direct and deep faith in Almighty God, a faith expressed in those wonderful words of St Paul: whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things". We think on them, too, and we thank God for all she has meant to us and all she has given to us. In this Easter season, we thank Him too that she has passed into that fullness of life which Easter promises through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Lord Carrington

My Lords, so much has been very rightly and properly written and said about the Queen Mother in the past few days that there is very little to add and certainly nothing new. I venture to say only a very few words because, like so many of your Lordships, I was privileged to know Queen Elizabeth and was the recipient of many kindnesses. I would feel both ungracious and ungrateful if I remained silent on this very special occasion.

I remember vividly on one occasion when it was quite clear how she held the fascination of the people of this country. I was travelling in a car behind her when she was going on an engagement in London through the crowded pavements and streets. People on those pavements who, in the nature of things, could not have known her, suddenly recognised the car and its occupant and their whole demeanour changed. They smiled, they laughed and they cheered. That is a remarkable tribute to someone who, in their view, was a very special person.

Dignity and a stern sense of duty, a never failing interest in people and things, warmth, charm and a magical personality, are the surest way to people's hearts. Queen Elizabeth had all those in every measure. How lucky over the years we have all been.

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, I should like to add my voice to those of other noble Lords, having been very fortunate to have known Her Majesty all my life. In 1952, she bought Borrogill Castle in Caithness, which once had been our family home. Without the careful restoration and the work that she did at Borrogill, it would have become another Caithness ruin. She renamed it the Castle of Mey, which had been its original name. She did an enormous amount for the county of Caithness. Her involvement in local activities, with the artists, with the local games and with people from all walks of life was so appreciated and will be very much missed by those up there.

In 1996, she looked to the future of the Castle of Mey and put it into a trust. I had the honour and privilege of being asked to be one of the trustees. Her Majesty set us quite a challenge—to keep the house as a lived-in house, with that wonderful atmosphere that she created, as well as making public access available at the same time. The trustees are spending quite a lot of money on updating the castle. We hope to be able to fulfil Her Majesty's aims in the not too distant future.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Williams, mentioned Her Majesty's knowledge of and interest in horse racing. It would be quite wrong to forget that she had a wide and detailed knowledge of her Aberdeen Angus and North Country Cheviot pedigree flocks, which are now the responsibility of the trustees. She knew those bloodlines extremely well. She won championship after championship. It will be a hard act to follow. As someone from Caithness said to me at the weekend, we will not see her like again.

Lord Kingsdown

My Lords, to the great good fortune of the people of my native county of Kent, Her Majesty was Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle from 1978, a historic office whose origins, as everyone will know, lay in the need to reorganise the defence of the south-east coast of England against raiders or even invaders from the Continent. Among her predecessors were the first Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and Sir Robert Menzies. Her Majesty's war years surely made her a worthy successor in that role.

The official residence of the Lord Warden is Walmer Castle, which is not normally inhabited. But year after year, Her Majesty and her indomitable household moved into the castle in July bringing with them from London everything necessary for life and comfort. I was told that it included a field cooker.

The castle came to life. Her Majesty entertained the mayors and officials of the cinque ports and a wide range of people from East Kent and Sussex. Those receptions and dinner parties were, as may be imagined, marvellous occasions, flowing in a continuous sequence and enlivened by Her Majesty's charm and enthusiasm and indefatigability. In addition to that entertaining, she fitted in visits in the neighbourhood, all of them a resounding success and much welcomed.

Fortunately, there are two potentially lasting things to commemorate those happy years and visits. The first is the garden at Walmer Castle, into the creation of which Queen Elizabeth put much time and thought. The second is to be found on the top of the cliffs between Folkestone and Dover; the Battle of Britain Memorial. That was established under Her Majesty's patronage and is much due to Her Majesty's support and generosity. She attended the opening ceremony and it was very moving to see her walking among and talking to the representatives of the few. They were men in their twenties in 1940—and that gracious lady then just 40 years old herself carrying the responsibility of being with the King, the head of our nation at that critical time.

Her Majesty's example never failed. She was a true Lord Warden of our coastline, of our country and of our people.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, on 5th November 1916 at St John's Episcopal Church in Forfar, the then Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, along with 11 other local young people, was confirmed as a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church. This Easter morning, 86 years later, as we prayed for the Queen Mother and gave thanks for her life, I am sure I was not the only person who was wondering how it was that that 16 year-old came to be the possessor of such star quality talents as her role in life developed.

What was the clue, I wonder, to that person who seemed from the beginning to be entirely at ease with herself; a secure and resolved personality; free to use her talents to the full without inhibitions; and to be her own self, whatever and whoever came along. And what talents they were. We have read about them in the press and we have heard about them today.

I believe that it is not fanciful to suggest that part of the clue to that wondrously free person lay in the fact that she had deep roots in the Angus countryside, in the community of Angus and in the history of Angus. Those security-giving roots were never left behind. Queen Elizabeth maintained and deepened them all her life. She felt, I believe, that she belonged to us. Everyone in our part of the country felt she belonged, too. I was for eight years the elected chancellor for the area called Strathmore and I know that.

By the time Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon took her confirmation vows, she was already putting them into action, helping the war-wounded soldiers at her home at Glamis. It was at Glamis that she become engaged to be married. Her second daughter was born there and named after Margaret, the 11th century Queen of Scotland who, with her husband Malcolm Canmore, had a palace at Forfar.

Princess Margaret's birthday fell in August and at Glamis the Duchess of York gave annual birthday parties for her younger daughter and her sister and for local children. A wonderful children's theatre was put on by Miss Waddell of Arbroath. Lord Roberts' Workshops in Dundee, where ex-servicemen found employment, were visited annually. The local regiment, the Black Watch, became Her Majesty's regiment. She was its Colonel in Chief. She became the first Chancellor of the University of Dundee when in the late 1960s it separated from St Andrew's.

When the Glamis Brownies celebrated their 70th birthday, the Queen Mother was at the Glamis Hotel with the founder members, whose Guide Commissioner she had been. She visited her home town of Forfar frequently and was at St John's Church for its centenary celebrations. And so it went on.

The signs are that the Queen Mother's Angus roots were an important part of her wonderful personality. They clearly mattered very much to her and they matter to us. Angus, in its quiet way, is a sad but proud community today.

12.15 p.m.

Lord Eatwell

My Lords, it is as the President of Queens' College, Cambridge, that I rise to add my tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

In 1948, the governing body of Queens' College invited Queen Elizabeth to become patroness of the college on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the foundation. She graciously accepted. She was our fourth patroness. The first two were the founders of the college; Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry VI, and Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV. Our third patroness was Anne Neville, wife of Richard III. But then from the Battle of Bosworth to 1948, Queens' College had no patroness.

Our new patroness more than made up for that hiatus. She visited the college regularly. As an undergraduate, I first met her in Queens' in the summer of 1965. I like to think that she enjoyed her frequent visits—indeed, I am sure she did—but of course it must be remembered that Cambridge is conveniently close to Newmarket.

On the occasion of her 101st birthday, just last August, I had the honour to present the college's birthday present. It consisted of a framed double photograph, two pictures taken from exactly the same position, showing Queen Elizabeth entering the college in June 1948 and then again in June 1998. In the photographs the buildings are, of course, exactly the same. The assembled undergraduates look very different. In the centre of each photograph is the figure of the Queen Mother, radiating warmth and enthusiasm.

During that visit in June 1998, as on all previous occasions, she spent a long time chatting to fellows, students and staff and even to children from the college nursery. At lunch, the lively conversation was peppered with a number of forceful, often indiscreet, observations on topics ranging from modern youth (of whom she greatly approved) to the Royal Ballet. She was very fond of the company and Sir Frederick Ashton had been a close friend. Throughout the visit, the college was filled by her ever-present sense of fun.

And that is how we will remember her. Queens' College was immensely proud of our patroness. We will miss her very much.

Lord St John of Fawsley

My Lords, I am very pleased to be able to speak after the most reverend Primate, in order to thank him, not only for what he has said today, but for his wonderful sermon on Easter Day at Canterbury, when he held in such harmonious balance the sorrow and joy of this occasion and spoke for the entire nation. On Sunday evening, at Westminster Cathedral, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster will be offering mass for Her Majesty and will be speaking for the Catholic community. As we are here as a community—indeed, the House of Lords is more than a community; it is a kind of family—perhaps I may be allowed to add my farthing dip at this point.

Her Majesty played a crucial part in our history. It was she and the King, and Sir Winston—that providential triumvirate—who managed to turn our darkest hour into our finest hour. Sixty years later, looking back, I shudder to think what might have been the fate of the world had that struggle been otherwise determined. Darkness would have spread over the earth. I shiver at the thought of what would have happened to our beloved Jewish brethren in this country if evil had triumphed.

It is not about Her Majesty's place in history that I wish to speak, but rather about her as a person and as a member of a family. We send our deepest sympathy and love to the Queen and to Prince Charles. The best thing that we can do to help the Queen, who must be very lonely, is to give her our loving support throughout this year of her Jubilee.

Queen Elizabeth had wisdom. She was the wise woman for the nation, the wise woman of Jung's archetypes. So, the sayings that she had—although on the surface they seemed so simple—had a resonance and reverberation which remained with everyone who heard them: "Don't cross your bridges before you come to them"; "A smile costs nothing"; and above all, "If you stop, you're done".

She carried the lasting values of the nation—not the froth of fashion that comes and goes, but loyalty, fidelity, love of family and friends and generosity. She was, as the most reverend Primate said, religious; but she was not in the least "churchy" She was brought up amidst clouds of incense: as the most reverend Primate indicated, her grandparents and parents were leaders of the Tractarian movement in Scotland. No wonder she was so familiar with the name of John Henry Newman.

Queen Elizabeth's piety was rooted in the Prayer Book. It was the Prayer Book that she loved. She did not like the kiss of peace. When she saw it winging its way towards her, she stiffened and took evasive action. Her religion was the British religion—loving kindness. It is a jolly good religion too. At the Parousia—the Second Coming—theology will not be on the menu, but love will be.

I am very glad that the Prince of Wales paid that most moving tribute to Her Majesty, and that he drew attention to the fun side of her character, as a number of noble Lords have done today. Therefore, I am emboldened to add two little stories of my own. One is a story that she loved to tell, of when she was at the Church of St Clement, in Rome—that historic church dating back to the time of the early Christians. It is run by Irish Dominicans. The wonderful prior there took her up to the high altar and said: "Madam, this is our greatest treasure, a relic of the true cross. Have you got a tip for the Grand National?" She loved that story. Another story which is told of her, is that on her 100th birthday, going up steep stairs, against the advice of all her doctors and her courtiers, there was twittering from her lady-in-waiting. Queen Elizabeth turned and said: "Don't worry, dear, if you fall, I'll catch you".

Queen Elizabeth embodied the great theological virtue of hope—the neglected virtue. To be human is to hope. Life is difficult for everyone, however auspicious our external circumstances may be. It is little known that Queen Elizabeth loved poetry. Poetry, as Bagehot said, is a deep thing, a profound thing—the most wise and humanly elevating thing. It has the searching power of the scriptures. Some of her greatest friends were poets. She was friends with all the poet laureates, and was particularly fond of Ted Hughes. She went back to the great Romantic poets: Shelley, Byron and Keats. Keats' poem, Hope, in an extraordinary way, seems to encapsulate Her Majesty: O let me see our land retain her soul, Her pride, her freedom; and not freedom's shade. From thy bright eyes unusual brightness shed— Beneath thy pinions canopy my head! … And as, in sparkling majesty, a star Gilds the bright summit of some gloomy cloud; Brightening the half-veil'd face of heaven afar: So, when dark thoughts my boding spirit shroud, Sweet Hope, celestial influence round me shed, Waving thy silver pinions o'er my head.

Lord Quirk

My Lords, of the many offices graced by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, there is one of special importance to a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of London. She presided over the affairs of the federal university as Chancellor from 1955 until, 26 years later, she was succeeded—to her personal delight and in no small measure through her discreet influence—by the Princess Anne, now the Princes Royal.

During that quarter-century, Her Majesty chaired the ceremonies (usually in the Albert Hall) for the award of first degrees to tens of thousands of young men and women—well over 25,000 doctors of medicine alone. At the annual Foundation Day ceremony in the Senate House, she listened to a series of public orators almost as long as the series of Archbishops that she experienced. She listened to them proclaim the merits of honorary graduands as various as Archbishop Michael Ramsey and Cardinal Basil Hume, Peggy Ashcroft and John Gielgud, Ernst Gombrich and Dorothy Hodgkin, Isaiah Berlin and Jean Roche, Lord Denning and Lord Todd, Isaac Wolfson and Lady Plowden, Noam Chomsky and Jacqueline due Pré. And none of them did she hood without engaging in lively conversation.

But of course it was more than just ceremonial occasions. Her tenure as Chancellor saw some perilous moments and she was always ready with a quiet word of guidance. Moreover, the University of London is a vast and exceptionally complex institution, with dozens of colleges and institutes not only from Egham in the west to Mile End in the east, but also from the very capital of France to the Scottish Isle of Cumbrae. She regularly visited all these institutions, repeatedly, once indeed steaming up the Clyde to the Marine Biological Station on the "Britannia", no less. And I recall her gracious presence in Paris when, in October 1976, she opened the new premises of the Institut Britannique in the rue de Constantine.

It goes without saying that, whether with young undergraduates, nervous dons, or self-confident foreign dignitaries, she brought her unique magic of dignity, charm, and warmth. And she took delight, I recall, when, having opened the new Australian Studies Centre in Russell Square, she heard Bob Hawke confess that this magic always made him start to question his long-held republican convictions.

One final anecdote came to my mind when I heard the Prince of Wales a day or so ago speak of his grandmother's deliciously mischievous sense of humour. We all remember, no doubt, the rumours that circulated about Lady Churchill's reaction to Graham Sutherland's interpretation of Sir Winston in 1955. Well, at about the same time we commissioned a similarly eminent artist, Pietro Annigoni, to paint our Chancellor, and I regret to say that it had a rather similar outcome, inasmuch as the Queen Mother was less than overjoyed by a picture that gave her, she felt, an enigmatic Mona Lisa look. So after her retirement she was persuaded to sit in all the splendour of the Chancellor's robes for a full-length portrait by Michael Noakes.

When she unveiled it her pleasure was obvious and immediate, as was her ever-youthful sense of fun. Despite the encircling press and national television crews, and risking any over-intrusive microphones, she turned to me, those beautiful eyes sparkling, and whispered, "Now let's go and do a Lady Churchill on the Annigoni".

In the event, of course, both pictures are treasured and on permanent view on the first floor of the Senate House in Bloomsbury, reminding all who see them of an ever beloved Chancellor.

12.30 p.m.

The Lord Bishop of Portsmouth

My Lords, among the many tributes to her late Majesty have been those which pointed to her versatility with peoples and institutions. I should like to speak for a few moments on behalf of Portsmouth—"Dear Portsmouth" as she was wont to call the city.

First, as a compassionate Queen Consort she visited Portsmouth with the late King during the Blitz and took time to comfort stricken and bereaved families and give encouragement to those who were working so hard to make the devastated city habitable after successive air raids. Portsmouth is a tightly-knit community, a vast urban village on an island, and those people who came in direct contact with her in their time of need never forgot what she became for them during those visits. The word got around very quickly that she came and she cared.

Secondly, she retained right to the end a deep interest in the Royal Navy. No one will forget the determination with which she visited the "Ark Royal" last November, as the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, mentioned earlier, for the rededication ceremony following the recent re-fit. It was a vessel she herself had launched. She took an active interest in the captain and the whole of the crew. But she had come to Portsmouth many times before then to unveil the naval memorial in 1953; she had toured HMS "Dolphin" submarine base in Gosport; and she opened the D-Day Museum in 1984. She made countless visits and the Royal Navy owes her a deep debt of gratitude.

Thirdly, as a faithful daughter of the Church, she took an active interest in the completion of St Thomas's Cathedral, not a straightforward business by any means. When the diocese was founded in 1927 the old parish church near the dockyard was made the cathedral and it was given an inadequate extension—inadequate for the cathedral's growing needs and it was also becoming increasingly unsafe. By November 1991 the new west end was completed and she herself attended the thanksgiving service, well into her 92nd year, a gesture that was hugely appreciated. It is locally reported that she actually tripped over on her way down the nave. She was rapidly found a seat. But it was obvious that she sat on the seat to compose the vast congregation rather than herself.

No era or person has a monopoly on public virtues, and although many have rightly remarked that her death marks the end of an era, in the Easter faith—how wonderful to die on Easter eve—there are new eras yet to be born. But we rightly mourn her passing and thank God for every remembrance of her.

Baroness Strange

My Lords, I should like to speak briefly, humbly and with love. For all of us, always, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother has been a shining star, someone who cared about all her people, who helped us all at some point in our lives to get through difficulties, dangers and distresses, with her own steadfast sense of duty, her love and her sense of fun. Even in your Lordships' House there is no one here now who remembers before she was born, though my father who was three months older than her, was in love with her all his life, and I suspect many of your Lordships' fathers and grandfathers were also.

Everyone who ever met her has had their lives brightened by her sparkle and vivacity. This year, at the funeral address for my son-in-law, Philippe de Magenta, in the village church of Sully in France, old Chanoine Grivot of the Cathedral in Autun, reminisced about her visit to Sully many years ago now. Philippe had organised some special British car to meet her at the airport at Dijon, which unfortunately had not turned up in time, so there was no one there to greet her on her arrival. Undeterred, Queen Elizabeth jumped into the waiting police car, and with sirens blazing drove smartly to Sully, where the rather shy Chanoine was left to greet her on his own. Finally Philippe and the family turned up panting and late. When they arrived, they found that she had totally charmed the waiting Chanoine, and put him at his ease. She had also quite forgiven Philippe.

We all have so many personal memories of her, of her charm, her humour and her sparkle. But beneath it all she had a steely sense of duty and a love for her family, and for her people, which have sustained us all our lives. Those things we shall remember in our hearts with joy as we remember her.

Lord Rix

My Lords, it is my privilege as president of the Royal Mencap Society to pay tribute to our late royal patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and to support the Motion so splendidly moved by the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Privy Seal. This privilege could have been claimed by my predecessors as president, the noble Lord, Lord Renton, who is in his place, and my noble friend Lord Allen of Abbeydale who is not. Both graciously deferred to me as the current incumbent, and I am most grateful.

Her Majesty became our patron in 1960. As I wrote in a letter to The Times, published this morning, 42 years ago our sons and daughters were considered by many misguided souls to be both unpleasant and unwanted. If they had to exist at all, it was best that they did so out of sight and out of mind. For the Queen Mother to undertake the patronage of a society such as ours was, therefore, a considerable compliment—and possibly a risk—and it added immeasurably to our reputation. Her first action was to open an industrial workshop for the society at Slough. It was one of the earliest attempts in the country to provide meaningful training and employment for those for whom we cared.

Over the years our royal patron was both interested and involved in most of our work, with her delightful private secretary, the late Sir Martin Gilliatt, acting as an excellent conduit. There was nothing he liked more than discussing possible future plans in the convivial atmosphere of the Garrick. This is what I wrote after one of those meetings: In July 1986, at the time of Mencap's 40th anniversary, we had a splendid reception at St. James's Palace in the presence of our Royal Patron, HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who was twice forty and then some. She was absolutely marvellous. It was the hottest day of the year, being in the nineties, but she walked around four large rooms, holding over 700 people, and seemed to find time to chat to at least 350 of them. Sir Martin had promised 45 minutes of her time. She stayed for two hours and 45 minutes". Even though that was written some 16 years ago, I still recall with pleasure the Queen Mother's delighted reaction when she was able to see for herself the progress winch could be made by people with a learning disability if they were given proper training. In 1981, when the noble Lord, Lord Renton was chairman, Her Majesty opened Mencap's new headquarters in Golden Lane and also a workshop next door where people with a learning disability could learn the art of dried flower arranging and, eventually, run the business and the shop themselves with the necessary gentle guidance.

In 1981 the new trainees were overawed and overwhelmed by the presence of the Queen Mother. But five years later came the dramatic moment when one of our former trainees, almost incapable of communication when he started to work for us, presented Her Majesty with a splendid painting of Balmoral, which he had done especially for the occasion. Another former trainee presented a beautiful bouquet of dried flowers, designed by herself, to a Queen Mother who was clearly moved and impressed by the quality of the work and the progress made. So much for those who were once deemed ineducable.

Her Majesty was equally impressed when our current chairman, Brian Baldock, was able to present to her two of our learning disabled members at the reception following her 100th birthday celebrations on Horse Guards Parade. She seemed to pick them out especially for a warm-hearted and lengthy conversation, showing her continuing and deep concern for people with a learning disability.

Right up to last autumn, the Queen Mother's officials continued to be most helpful and considerate, engaging Her Majesty's attention on our behalf whenever it was considered necessary or appropriate. Indeed, her approval was sought just before Christmas for our proposed change of name to reflect the inclusive nature of our society's new constitution, which enables people with a learning disability to take an active part in all our counsels and activities as fully-fledged members. It was our royal patron herself who suggested the name on which we finally agreed, as I mentioned earlier: the Royal Mencap Society.

The 42 years of her patronage have seen people with a learning disability arise from the slough of despond to somewhat firmer ground—a marked degree of progress, encouragement and understanding which was only dreamt about four decades ago and which delighted our royal patron. We are saddened that she will not be around to see our ultimate aim achieved—absolute acceptance and integration into society with all the necessary support services in attendance. Her Majesty would have enjoyed that and we shall miss her very much.

Lord Elton

My Lords, your Lordships have rightly evoked a brave, loving, courageous, wise and unforgettable spirit. But the Motion is addressed to the daughter. Your Lordships will all have experienced the death of one parent and possibly of the surviving parent.

Her Majesty the Queen, whom we address today, is left in an extraordinarily lonely position with extraordinarily grave responsibilities. I should like to remind your Lordships of the terms of the Motion and say that our hearts not only rejoice in the life of her mother but go out to her in loyalty and love in the lonely position which she now holds.

12.45 p.m.

Lord Rogan

My Lords, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother first visited Ulster in 1924 as the then Duchess of York. Following the accession to the throne in 1937, she made a further 14 state visits to Northern Ireland. Her radiant presence and her obvious interest in our affairs was always a source of great comfort to us from the dark days of the Second World War to the Enniskillen massacre and to happier times, such as distributing shamrock to the Irish Guards on St Patrick's Day.

Not only Ulster but the whole country and the Commonwealth owe a debt to Her Majesty which can never be repaid. I never had the privilege or honour of meeting her, but I have been told often by those who did that, "She was a true lady and, what is more, she was great fun" The prayers of Ulster this day and in the days ahead are with her daughter and with other members of the Royal Family.

Lord Mackay of Clashfern

My Lords, on this occasion I want to thank in particular the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House for the eloquent way in which he encapsulated all our thoughts in his address. I want to say how much my wife and I appreciated the great kindnesses that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother showed to us when I had the honour of holding office.

I also want to support very much what my noble friend Lord Caithness said about her home in Caithness. When I was a very young law student, I found myself involved in the preparation of the title which she took to the land at the Castle of Mey. I only hope that it turns out to be a good one. As has been said, she did a great deal of work there, restoring the castle, creating a wonderful garden and looking after north country sheep and Aberdeen Angus cattle. I believe that anyone who knows Caithness will know that that was not done without a certain degree of challenge. We are also grateful for another thing. Caithness is now nearer London than it used to be because there are bridges which Her Majesty the Queen Mother opened for us.

Finally, as has been said, her Christian faith was very evident in all her works. It was not simply a case of words; the faith was manifest in her works. In no place was it more manifest than in the small Canisbay parish Church of Scotland near to the Castle of Mey.

Lord Patel

My Lords, I am pleased to be able to speak on behalf of the president and fellows and members world-wide of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, of which I am a past president. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother had a long association with the college going back to 1932. Then, as Duchess of York, she officially opened the college house in Queen Anne Street, the college having been founded in 1929.

Her Majesty the Queen Mother, then Queen Elizabeth, became the college's patron on 28th June 1946. An appeal was launched to raise funds for a new home in 1947, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, patron of the college, was the first to subscribe with a generous donation of £1,000. In 1949 the college bestowed its highest honour—that of an honorary fellowship—on Her Majesty. I believe that what Her Majesty had to say in accepting that honour typifies some aspect and values in life that she held dear and a message that my specialty should cherish.

Her Majesty said, I believe that it is on the happiness of home and family life that the true worth and strength of a nation depend In the context of the work of the college, she went on to say, But what has been so well described as the miracle of life and the source of all tenderness and love in humanity demands more than technical attention. It demands a spiritual approach; as well as a warm, human understanding and a deep sense of moral values". If those words were true then, they are even more so today. Over the years her gracious Majesty continued to support the college on many occasions, the most notable being the silver jubilee celebrations of the college in 1954; the laying of the foundation stone of the present college building in Regent's Park in 1957; and chairing the inaugural meeting of the Court of Patrons in 1982. Only a few days before that occasion, Her Majesty had undergone surgery to remove an impacted fishbone from her throat. Not only did she attend the Court of Patrons meeting, but she also insisted on speaking to each and every person in the large gathering present to celebrate the event.

In all the years as a patron she was keenly interested in the work of the college and the well-being and health of women and their children. Not only did Her Majesty attend many formal and social occasions, but she also kept in regular touch. All who had an opportunity to meet her will remember Her Majesty as extremely gracious, kind, friendly, easy to talk to and willing to crack a joke. I consider myself enormously privileged to have met her.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has lost a great patron, but has been enriched by Her Majesty's association and patronage over the past 70 years. Thousands of fellows and members of the college worldwide will always associate the college with her. The college wishes to extend its sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and to the members of the Royal Family.

On Question, Motion agreed to nemine dissentiente; and it was ordered that the Address be presented to Her Majesty by the Lord Chamberlain.

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