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Lord Speaker’s Statement

Volume 822: debated on Thursday 26 May 2022

My Lords, before asking the Leader of the House to begin the next business, I wish to offer a few short words of tribute to Her Majesty from the Woolsack.

It was a privilege on my first day as Lord Speaker to welcome Her Majesty to Parliament for State Opening in 2021. Although it was my first State Opening in the role, Her Majesty has attended every State Opening bar three since the beginning of her reign in 1952. Her loyal and steadfast presence is a constant feature of British life and helps bind us together in an increasingly polarised world. Throughout the magnificence of her reign, Her Majesty has been the supreme example of integrity in public life, and she continues to show unwavering duty and devotion. Her long record of public service is recognised not only within the United Kingdom but globally, especially within the Commonwealth, which she has served with great distinction over many decades.

This Chamber, being the place where the three elements of Parliament come together, has an important connection with Her Majesty. Behind me, the sovereign’s Throne is one of the reminders of the crucial role she plays in our constitution in opening Parliament and in signing our Bills into law.

Since her accession 70 years ago, the world has witnessed an extraordinary series of societal changes and historical events, from the beginnings of the post-war settlement and the development of mass communications through to the end of the Cold War, the fight against climate change and the transformation brought about by the internet. Historians will recognise the Elizabethan age as a time of extraordinary change. Across all these world-changing events and many more, Her Majesty has represented an essential point of continuity while still embracing modernity in her work as our Head of State.

Her leadership and that of the late Prince Philip, with his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, has inspired thousands of people, especially young people, to develop their skills and to work to improve society and the environment. Awards and initiatives led by them have seen millions of people develop, grow and perform outstanding achievements in the service of their communities.

Today this House has the privilege of marking Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. I am sure I speak for the whole House in expressing the deepest thanks for Her Majesty’s 70 years of unparalleled, exemplary and devoted service.