Skip to main content

Birth of a son to Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge

Volume 747: debated on Tuesday 23 July 2013

Motion for an Humble Address

Moved by

That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty The Queen 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 congratulate Your Majesty, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of a son to Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge; to signify our great pleasure at this happy event; and to assure Your Majesty of our continued loyalty and devotion”.

My Lords, I beg to move that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty the Queen to congratulate Her Majesty, and other members of the Royal Family, on the safe delivery of a son to their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

This is a very happy day: first, for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge personally, as it is for any young couple who experience that mixture of wonder and relief when their first child is born; but, secondly, for the whole country because it means that the succession to the Throne is further secured. No reigning British sovereign has been able to look quite so far ahead since the birth of His Royal Highness Prince Edward of York as a great grandson to Queen Victoria in 1894.

The bells are pealing from the Abbey; the guns have fired their salute. But it is the crowds which have once again gathered outside Buckingham Palace which are the real mark of the great affection in which the Royal Family is held. There, too, in the palace forecourt is the easel bearing the notice from the Queen’s gynaecologist, last used to announce the birth of Prince William of Wales in 1982. When moving a similar Address on that occasion, the late Lady Young said:

“The Monarchy, within our constitution, finds itself more securely based than ever before upon the affections of the people”.

My Lords, amen to that. It was true in 2011 at the Royal Wedding, it was true in 2012 for the Diamond Jubilee, and it is clearly true today.

The Duke of Cambridge has started his public life not only through royal duty and service in the tradition of his parents and grandparents but as a serving officer in the Royal Air Force. I am sure that his father is very proud of him, as would have been his mother, at today’s happy news.

The Duchess of Cambridge has won many admirers for the way in which she has taken up her royal duties, supporting the Queen and in her own interests of art, children and sport. She and the Duke of Cambridge were superb ambassadors for the Royal Family, and for the United Kingdom, during the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee.

We are right to celebrate this birth as a national event, but I am sure we all hope that the Duke and Duchess, and perhaps particularly the new Prince, can have some privacy. Royalty carries burdens as well as privileges, and those burdens will fall on the young Prince’s shoulders all too soon.

Our Queen, raised in the imperial court in the first part of the 20th century, today sees a child who is not likely to succeed to the Throne until well into the second half of the 21st. When that time comes, one thing is certain. The new Prince could not have a better example of duty and service than that set by his great grandmother and, indeed, his great grandfather. We wish the child well; we wish his parents well for his upbringing; and we offer Her Majesty the Queen our continued loyalty and our warmest congratulations.

My Lords, on behalf of Her Majesty's Opposition, I warmly endorse the sentiments expressed by the noble Lord the Leader of the House to Her Majesty the Queen, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh and their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This is a moment of real joy for the Duke and Duchess, and we send them our warmest congratulations on the birth of their son—an extraordinary event for any new parent. It is also a moment of real happiness for people right across Britain, who will think with special affection of the Duchess, as a new mother, and her son.

Especially since their wedding in 2011, their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess have given a great deal of happiness to the nation, and the occasion of the birth of their first-born child gives the nation the opportunity to make known its feelings in reply. It is clear that the nation is indeed doing so. I trust, however, that the nation will also allow them privacy to delight in their family life.

The fact that the Duke and Duchess’s first-born is a boy means that the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which your Lordships’ House and the other place passed earlier this year, will now not need to be applied in the way it would have been had their first-born been a girl. But even so, the Act is the right thing for Parliament to have done in the modern age. It is an historic change and a welcome one, and I am sure that it will be well used in future.

Britain will rejoice in what we know will be an added delight to Her Majesty the Queen in the year celebrating the 60th anniversary of Her succeeding to the Throne in 1953. We on these Benches wish the Duke and Duchess, and the new Prince, long life and lasting happiness.

My Lords, the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition have moved and seconded this Address with eloquence and elegance. It is only left for me from these Benches, with a sense of honour and privilege, to wish the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son a long and happy life in the service of this country.

My Lords, it is a great honour and a real privilege, on behalf of my colleagues in the Cross-Bench group, to be associated with the sentiments already so well expressed. This is indeed a very happy occasion, and we gladly offer both our sincere congratulations and our very best wishes to Her Majesty the Queen and her family.

Your Lordships’ House has, time and again, demonstrated a particular interest in the well-being of children and families, so it has given us a very great pleasure to learn of the safe delivery of a son to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Like so many loyal citizens in this country and, indeed, across the Commonwealth, we wish the baby a very long and fulfilled life.

We are indeed most grateful for this opportunity to express to Her Majesty and her family the joy the news has given us. We wish them well and offer our warmest greetings.

My Lords, the day’s proceedings in your Lordships’ House begin far too often with the announcement of a death. My friend the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury and my other colleagues on this Bench regret not being present today because they are attending the funeral of the late Bishop of Coventry, Colin Bennetts. None the less, it is a wonderful joy and delight for us to join in the words of colleagues in this House as we pause to celebrate the birth of a new baby. Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge can be assured not simply of the congratulations, prayers and good wishes of those who occupy this Bench but, I am sure, the whole of the Church and faiths in England and the rest of the country.

My friend the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury, your Lordships may like to know, did not, as was the custom in times past, actually attend the birth. Instead, he has offered his own prayers and congratulations to their Royal Highnesses, sharing,

“in their joy at this special time”,

and praying that God would,

“bless this family with love, health and happiness”.

I am delighted to associate myself with his comments and offer my own prayers for their Royal Highnesses and their new son.

Every Sunday, up and down this country, we pray for our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth that she will be guided by wisdom and by truth. It may well be that similar prayers are said for this newborn child in years to come. He will, too, we hope and trust, be the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

It is not future responsibilities that prompt our celebrations today, but a desire that this child will have the strongest network of love and care. There has been huge interest in the royal birth around the country which, with sustained sunshine, British victories at Wimbledon and the Tour de France and an upsurge in that traditional English game of cricket, leaves the country basking in well-being. In all this warmth, we remember today that a new stage has begun for a young family. The infant has no idea what symbolic authority may one day be his; and so meanwhile, we pray that their Royal Highnesses will be guided and sustained as they take up the joys and challenges of parenthood. We humbly offer our congratulations, support and affection to the whole Royal Family.

Motion agreed nemine dissentiente, and the Lord Chamberlain was ordered to present the Address to Her Majesty.